02pic feature out of africa

Oliver, showing the Personalised Numberplate.

The 1963 Opel Kadett was the car that Richard Hammond drove in the Botswana Special. Hammond began to feel attached to the little car, naming it Oliver. When it came to crossing the Makgadikgadi Salt Flats and Jeremy Clarkson and James May were required to lighten their cars Richard did not "modify" the car in any way to adapt to the desert. And it worked out well, despite its mechanical problems.

The only real problem it encountered was fording a river, where Oliver sank. Hammond worked into the night to fix it, and he managed to repair the water damage, proudly displaying Oliver's fixed horn.

The car was later seen on the Top Gear awards as the best noise of the year, and then in the Lorries Challenge, where it is shown that Richard gave the car the personalised nameplate, "OL1V3R". It was 'borrowed' by Clarkson and May to be Hammond's most treasured item in the Lorry Challenge hill start, but he forfeited, not wanting to see Oliver hurt again.

The car is also seen in Richard's own show, Richard Hammond's Blast Lab. Oliver also appeared in Practical Classics magazine where the magazine staff helped Hammond complete the restoration.


Top Speed - 75 m.p.h.

Price - £1,200

Power - 40 b.h.p.

Licence Plate in UK: ANP 210A


"OLIVER!!" - Richard Hammond

"Yes, it's the little yellow Opel that took Richard across Botswana. But it did so much more than that. It also became his friend, albeit a friend who let him down quite a bit and at one point almost drowned him. Nonetheless, whilst Jeremy and James were happy to leave their cars in Africa at the end of the challenge, Richard brought Oliver home with him and they live together to this day. Ahhhh." - Top Trumps - Top Gear: The Challenges

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