UK classic and niche vehicle website Car & Classic said the Ford Escort – from the humblest £1,200 1993 Cabriolet to the custom and rare 1971 RS1600 Mk I, sold for £66,000 last year (pictured above) – has topped the most searched-for list of classic cars in 2022. The finding follows analysis tracking the classic car community’s interest trends by comparing searches between 2022 and 2021 on the classified and online auction site.
Ford remained the most-searched brand, with Escort, Capri and Cortina making up more than 50 per cent of overall Ford searches, though Mustang’s popularity declined from 2021. Fiesta experienced a resurgence, perhaps because of the model’s discontinuation, announced in 2022.
Triumph remained steady in second place., with the usual Stag and TR6 the most popular models across both 2021 and 2022.
Jaguar came in third, with its E-type and Mk2 the marque’s first and second most searched-for models in 2022 as in the previous year.
The winner among fourth-placed Porsche’s models was 924, the third most-searched variant after 911 and 944. In 2021, that spot was taken by 356. “The Porsche community seems to agree that the 924, for a long time the underrated model, is now enjoying a resurgence. You can get good Porsche driving fun for as little as £7,100, as the 1985 Porsche 924 shows,” said Pollitt.
BMW, third in 2021, came sixth in 2022 (third in 2022, up from fourth in 2021). Interest in BMW E30s is everlasting, if not even stronger; a 1987 325i sold for £17,250 at the end of 2022, and estate versions like the 1989 325i Touring are not far behind. “The E30 allure even overcomes the model not being exempt from Clean Air Zones and ULEZ charges” said Car & Classic head of editorial, Chris Pollitt.
There is a pattern in the volume of searches. “Original, low-mileage cars with good history continue to draw attention and will command a premium,” said Pollitt. “As the E30 M3s become increasingly out of reach, alternatives will be sought. For example, BMW 316s (like a 1987 316 two-door that sold for £14k) are good starter classics, demanding low maintenance [and providing] a fun driving experience. E46 model prices continue to rise, in the wake of E30 models’ popularity.”
Land Rover Defender and Range Rover are not as popular in 2022 as they were in 2021. “Increasing fuel costs may have a bearing on people’s interest in acquiring a classic; perhaps Land Rover’s bigger engines are not as desirable as the smaller, 2-litre diesel units moving older Land Rovers; series 1, 2 and 3 models are still the top 4×4 searched-for,” said Pollitt.
There are indications that Toyota may not be as sought-after as it was in 2021: Supra is the third most-searched among the brand’s models, with MR2 taking the top spot. Toyota brought up the rear in the top 10 marque list.
“Car & Classic’s data show that, despite the current global economy’s challenges, there continues to be an obvious interest in classic cars. It could be due to their dual appeal: never just a hard-nosed investment, classic cars pull at the individual’s heartstrings because of the emotive connection they may carry, as a memory, a piece of history, or simply something which – coveted at a younger age – is finally attainable later in life, when the individual is more financially comfortable,” said Pollitt.
TOP 10 MARQUE SEARCHES IN 2022
TOP 10 MODEL SEARCHES IN 2022
BMW 3-series (mainly E30)