• Love affair for the Ford Escort continues as the model tops classified and online auction website searches in 2022
  • BMW drops down the list, but E30 models on the rise
  • Porsche and VW climb up
  • Jaguar gains third place, after Ford and Triumph

London, 15 March 2023 – Leading classic and niche vehicle website Car & Classic reveals that the Ford Escort* (from the humblest £1,200 1993 Escort Cabriolet to the custom and rare 1971 RS1600 MKI, sold for £66,000 last year)  still tops the most searched-for list of classic cars in 2022: the outcome is the result of an analysis tracking the classic car community’s interest trends by comparing searches between 2022 and 2021 on the popular classified and online auction site.

Ford is still the most-searched brand, but whilst the Escort, Capri and Cortina are still making up more than 50% of overall Ford searches, seeking Mustangs is not as popular an activity in 2022 as it was in 2021. Instead, the humble Fiesta sees a resurgence, perhaps because of the current model’s discontinuation announced in 2022.

Interest in Triumph, with the usual Stag and TR6 the most popular models across both 2021 and 2022, remains steady in second place.

BMW, third in 2021, settles for sixth place in 2022, after Jaguar (third in 2022, up from fourth in 2021) and the other two main German brands, Porsche and VW; down to model level, interest in E30s is everlasting, if not even stronger. This desirable 1987 325i sold for £17,250 at the end of 2022, and estate versions like this 1989 325i Touring are not far behind. “The E30 allure even overcomes the model not being exempt from Clean Air Zones and ULEZ charges” says 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,” says Pollitt. “As the E30 M3s become increasingly out of reach, alternatives will be sought. For example, BMW 316s (like this 1987 316 two-door, sold for £14k) are good starter classics, demanding low maintenance and still securing a fun driving experience,” Pollitt continues. “E46 model prices continue to rise, in the wake of E30 models’ popularity.”

Both Jaguar’s E-type and Mk2 are confirmed as first and second most searched-for models in 2022 as in the previous year.

Real winner among Porsche models is the 924, third most-searched after the usual 911 and 944; in 2021, that spot was taken by the 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 this 1985 Porsche 924 shows.”

Land Rover Defender and Range Rover are not as popular a search in 2022 as they were in 2021. Pollitt explains: “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, 2l diesel units moving older Land Rovers; series 1, 2 and 3 models are still the top 4×4 searched-for.”

There are indications that Toyota may not be as sought-after as it was in 2021: the Supra is third most-searched among the brand’s models, with the MR2 taking the top spot. Overall, Toyota brings up the rear in the top ten marque list.

“Car & Classic’s own 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,” concludes Pollitt.

Car & Classic typically lists around 30,000 vehicles at any one time, with a range of prices from “no-reserve” to over £13m.

Top 10 marque searches in 2022


Top 10 model searches in 2022
Ford Escort
Triumph Stag
Jaguar E-type
BMW 3-series (mainly E30)
VW Golf
Land Rover
Rover Mini
Toyota MR2

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