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Date: July 10, 2001
I had always thought that the apparent plethora of cars in the South had to do with the fact that the icy winters and salted roads destroyed most of the northern cars. Similarly, the Gulf Coast itself doesn't seem to have many old cars. However, once you go inland, the number increases. I've always attributed this phenomenon to the more frequent flooding (hurricanes, etc.) that occurs near the coast.
By and large, the cars that remain in the North are well-maintained garaged vehicles, owned by enthuisiasts. In the South, you find a higher fraction of classic cars still used as daily drivers. The cars that have been discarded don't rust away as quickly and haven't been subject to the same aggressive crushing seen in the North(I suspect higher land values, denser populations, and stricter city ordinances may have played a role there)
The percentage of classic daily drivers goes even higher as you enter the arid Southwest. I was amazed at how many 50's and 60's daily drivers I found in areas of New Mexico and West Texas.