What are the most in-demand classic cars, and how much could they be worth? Many of us have our own dream classic car that we'd love to own, or even just get behind the wheel of once in our lifetime.
Such iconic cars don’t come cheap, and that’s before you consider the cost of car insurance - their prices are only going up.
But which are the most popular classic cars, and how much would it cost you to get behind the wheel of them?
The world’s best classic cars
By comparing over 200 classic cars on factors such as their rarity and estimated valuation, we’ve ranked the greatest classic cars out there.
1. Lamborghini Miura
The top-ranked car overall is the Lamborghini Miura, which set the standard for high-performance sports and supercars when it was launched in the mid-60s.
It was the fastest production road car in the world when it was released and scored highly across the board here.
The Miura ranked so highly in particular due to its value having doubled in the last three years, and by over 1,500% since launching .
2. Ferrari F40
It’s no surprise that so many Ferraris populate the list of greatest classic cars, but the highest-ranking vehicle from the Italian automaker is the F40.
This particular model has been hailed as one of the best cars by both petrolheads and industry press.
The popularity of the Ferrari is still apparent to this day, with the F40 being among the most searched classic cars (with over 4 million searches).
Alongside this, its estimated value has also grown by 100% in the last three years, hence why it scored so well.
3. Ferrari 250 GTO
Another Ferrari takes third place - the Ferrari 250 GTO. The 250 GTO is extremely rare, with just 36 being made, and each original buyer was personally approved by Enzo Ferrari.
This rarity has made the car extremely desirable for collectors and sales have repeatedly broken price records.
The current valuation is estimated at $70 million, far more than any other classic car, with the 250 GT also scoring highly for its rarity.
The world's greatest classic cars
Which classic cars offer the best return on investment?
If you’re lucky enough to be able to afford to buy one of these iconic machines, which might give you the greatest return on investment?
To find out, here’s a look at which classic cars have seen their value increase the most in the last three years.
1. Ferrari F355 - 214%
The car with the greatest increase in its estimated value is the Ferrari F355, which has grown from $65,000 to $204,000.
The F355 was launched in 1994 as the successor to the 348, with a greater emphasis on performance and driveability in different environments.
2. Ferrari Testarossa - 111%
Another Ferrari that has seen its value more than double in the last three years is the Testarossa, increasing from $114,000 to $241,000.
The Testarossa is popular with lovers of the 1980s, serving as a symbol for the decade, having appeared in the classic TV series Miami Vice.
3. Lamborghini Miura & Ferrari F40 - 100%
The top two ranking classic cars scored so highly because they’ve both seen their estimated valuations double in the last three years.
The Lamborghini Miura’s valuation has grown from $925,000 to $1.85 million. For the Ferrari F40, prices have grown from $1.3 million to $2.6 million.
The classic cars that have seen their value increase the most
Which are the most popular classic cars today?
While most of these cars were released decades ago, interest in them is as big as ever. One way to judge this is through the number of times they’ve been searched on Google in the last 12 months.
1. Nissan Skyline GT-R - 8.21 million searches
By far the most popular classic car on Google is the Nissan Skyline GT-R, with over 8 million searches in the last year.
After being revived in 1989, the Skyline GT-R became Nissan’s flagship model and has remained relevant through appearances in films such as the Fast & Furious series.
2. Lamborghini Countach - 4.83 million searches
In second is the Lamborghini Countach, with over 4 million annual searches. The Countach is one of the earliest examples of the famous “Italian Wedge” body shape, designed by the Bertone design house.
Interest in the model has been rekindled due to plans to revive the nameplate for its 50th anniversary with the hybrid-electric Countach LPI 800-4.
3. Ferrari F40 - 4.08 million searches
The Ferrari F40 comes in third place with just over 4 million annual searches. It was the last Ferrari to be personally approved by Enzo Ferrari and was the brand’s fastest, most powerful, and most expensive car when it launched. The F40 remains one of the most valuable classic cars to this day.
Today's most popular classic cars
What are the most shared classic cars on social media?
While it didn’t even exist when these cars were released, social media is the place to go to show off your classic motor.
But which classic cars get the most love on social media? Here are the vehicles with the highest number of combined hashtag mentions and TikTok views.
1. Lamborghini Diablo
Instagram posts: 155,780
TikTok views: 14.6 billion
The most popular classic car on social media is the Lamborghini Diablo, with over 150,000 posts on Instagram and 14.6 billion views on TikTok. The Diablo is a high-performance sports car that was the first Lamborghini to be capable of speeds of over 200 mph.
2. Lamborghini Miura
Instagram posts: 81,576
TikTok views: 14.6 billion
Another Lamborghini takes second place when it comes to social media fame: the Lamborghini Miura. The Miura was the company’s flagship model until 1973 and perhaps its most notable appearance was in the opening sequence of The Italian Job.
3. Honda Prelude
Instagram posts: 154,918
TikTok views: 14.4 billion
Not too far behind the two Lamborghini models in terms of social media numbers is the Honda Prelude. The Prelude was in production for over 20 years and was a competitor to the likes of the Toyota Celica, Mazda RX-7 and the Mitsubishi Eclipse.
The classic cars that get the most love on social media
Alex Kindred, car insurance expert at Confused.com, comments:
“Classic cars are becoming an increasingly popular purchase among car enthusiasts and investors alike, with the price of rare models increasing faster than the price of gold! This means that investing in a classic car doesn’t have to only be a dream purchase for car fanatics. It also has the potential to be a lucrative investment for smart buyers. Although, it isn’t just the initial cost of the car they need to consider, as even the cheapest models could cost a lot more to run over time.
“When choosing which classic car to buy it is important to note the cost of car insurance. Even if you don’t plan to drive your classic motor, by law it still requires insurance. If you’re in the market for a classic car, we recommend comparing car insurance quotes to calculate how much you could be paying to insure it before making the commitment.”
After compiling a list of 200 classic cars from classic car marketplace websites, such as Car and Classic, we analysed each car on the following factors, giving each a normalised score out of ten for each factor before taking a final average of these scores.Note that no more than ten models were included from the same manufacturer, while vehicles with modern equivalents (such as the Ford Mustang or Fiat 500) and vehicles for which limited data was available were excluded. All prices were initially sourced in US dollars, before being converted to pound sterling and euros as of January 11th 2021.
The world's best classic cars
Annual Google searches: The number of global Google searches made between December 2020 and November 2021, sourced using Google Ads Keyword Planner
Rarity: The number of each vehicle that was produced. View the full list of sources.
Current average value: The average market price according to Hagerty’s valuation tool. Each valuation refers to cars in ‘concours’ condition (restored to original condition).
Original value increase: The increase in estimated value since the vehicle was originally released. Current valuations were sourced from Hagerty’s, while original list prices were sourced from a variety of different sources, which can be viewed here. Original list prices were then adjusted for inflation based on the car’s release year, using US Inflation Calculator, before calculating the difference between the original and current valuations.
Recent value increase: The difference in valuation between May 2019 and the present day (sourced on January 21st 2022) according to Hagerty’s valuation tool.
The most popular classic cars on social media
The total number of Instagram posts and TikTok views for hashtags mentioning each model were sourced on January 5th, 2021. Note that these figures were not included in the overall ranking of the best classic cars in the world.