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. Despite the mechanical problems Oliver suffered, it managed to travel the full length of the trip.
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 chose to forfeit the task, as he didn't want to damage Oliver 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. The Opel Kadett is a small family car produced by the German automobile manufacturer Opel between 1937 and 1940, and then again from 1962 until 1991 (the Cabrio continued until 1993), when it was renamed Opel Astra. The Kadett was re-introduced in 1962, with deliveries beginning on 2 October, a little more than 22 years after the original model was discontinued in May 1940. The new car (designated the Kadett A) was a small family car like its predecessor, although it was now available in 2-door saloon, 3-door estate ("Car-A-Van") and coupé versions.