Covid-19 Impact on Classic Car Sales

Data from one of Europe’s leading websites for classic car sales, Car & Classic, highlights a significant shift in the volume and type of cars enthusiasts are searching for after a year of Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns. Popular classics such as MGB GT, Volkswagen Beetle, and Ford Cortina, (the latter falling from second to ninth when comparing Q1 2020 and Q1 2021), have slipped down the rankings, with ‘dream’ sports cars moving up. The Porsche 911 is now the most searched-for vehicle on Car & Classic, followed by the Jaguar E-Type. The 911 replaces the Ford Capri on the site that has seen a 39 percent rise in vehicle searches of its top 200 cars, with buyers feeling now is the time to search for the dream car they always wanted.

The Impact of Covid-19 on Classic Car Sales from Car and Classic Records post lockdown market shift infographic

The data comparing pre-Covid-19 Q1 2020 and Q1 2021 highlights other substantial movements that reflect trends in the wider European classic car market. Young timers or modern classics have risen in popularity with the 1980s E30 BMW 3 Series now the third most searched-for car on the site. Japanese classics have also experienced a surge in interest. Enthusiasts have also warmed to 80s hot hatches with a 25 percent rise in the number of searches for an XR2 and 44 percent for the Ford Escort XR3i. Japanese marques are also increasing in favor, with the Toyota Supra, Mazda RX-7, and Toyota MR2 now featuring in the top 16 with the Nissan Skyline moving up 131 places to 27th place.

So many of us spend time ‘car and classicing’- searching through the 40-odd thousand cars we list for sale either in our classifieds or auction. The searches highlight how the pandemic is driving and accelerating change in the classic car field. For some, it has meant more time to start a new project, for others, money saved not going on holiday could mean now buying the dream car they always wanted to own. The data also underlines that the classic car world is always changing. Whether that’s a new wave of cars such as the 80s and 90s modern classics that are increasingly in vogue or a new generation of enthusiasts coming through with more time looking for some nostalgia. Or even pre-war or early post-war cars becoming more affordable as fashions change. It’s truly fascinating to see what people are looking for. I still can’t quite believe there were 10,000 searches for Reliant Robin!  

Chris Pollitt, head of editorial at Car & Classic

Alongside its classified offering, Car & Classic launched its stand-alone auction site in July 2020, as a reaction to the market demanding online-only car sales. Car & Classic offers the sellers protection with free escrow as well as 0 percent buyers’ fees. The specialized auction site is currently having its busiest period with over 100 auctions on the site in the month of April, the same time that the UK lockdown rules eased therefore proving that auctions are here to stay and it is not just a Covid-related project.

Note: Press release courtesy of Car & Classics.