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I think it comes down to the area and how the roads are maintained. I bout a Trans-Am from Quebec once and it rotted before its time. There, ( at the time anyway) they used a lot of salt on the roads. Not here.

Also - I think the metal prep processes have gotten much better over the years. You hardly see rust anymore on cars, but you do see a lot of paint delamination in some areas.
 

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I bought a'90 Corvette in 2004 that came from North Carolina. Shortly afterwards, it had an overheating problem. I removed the radiator for inspection-the flow test was okay, but I removed about 5-10 lbs of sand from between the fins. It had seen some "beach" service.
I bought an Intrepid from Texas with a good carfax. It had a junkyard engine in it, as I found out later.
As you said, beware!
 

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I am trying to buy a flood damaged coupe. But it has drug out for months now. Losing interest in it. But I was going to do a complete restoration of the car as a keeper. I think an easy way to tell if one has been under water is look under the dash. Main cross member, all of them have some slight rust on them, but would guess a flood car would show real rust in that area. It can be seen by opening the driver side door and looking up into the dash along side the steering column, right side. I think there are photos in my Mallett restoration.

But if you are not willing to do everything to the car, I would avoid it. I know several that have flood damaged cars. Almost bought a Carbon Flash Redline. It was a nice car, had water over the front end of the car, at the bottom of the rotors, and was totaled. Some do not have much damage, but you have to look at them closely. The jest of this story is buyer beware.
 

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back in November 0f 2016, purchased a silver-grey solstice...manual trans...had 30,450 miles total. It looks good, runs well..
has cloth type seats....in scoping it out, noticed a headlight was replaced..rubber is ok...just changed the oil, and replaced
the oil filter...btw, bought it for under 10 k.....will like to replaced the tires with fresh goodwill(s)
 
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