Richard Hammond's Workshop

Richard Hammond Reveals Latest Garage Edition – Famous Oliver Gets “Girlfriend”

Richard Hammond has bought another car, which he calls Oliver’s girlfriend. For those of you who don’t know, Oliver is a 1962 Opel Kadett that The Grand Tour Presenter bought for the Top Gear Botswana special in 2007.

Hammond crossed the breadth of the continent in the classic car with flying colors but was made fun of by his colleagues James May and Jeremy Clarkson for giving the Kadett a name. The former Top Gear co-presenter had earned a reputation for forming an emotional bond with cars he revered.

Fast forward to December 2023, and you see Hammond not only preserving Oliver in its original condition, but he also bought another 1962 Opel Kadett, that he calls Olivia. The new car is meant to be the “girlfriend” of Oliver.

“If you don’t remember Oliver, it’s a 1962 Opel Kadett that I drove around Botswana on a certain car show more years ago than I care to remember. But he’s sitting here on the front lawn of what is unmistakably our own workshop. I didn’t just bring a box of tools and the lads this time, it’s an entire workshop.

CarFest is a well-known festival that combines the celebration of diverse vehicles and music, as shown in Drivetribe’s video. It serves as a promotional platform for The Smallest Cog, as featured in the series Richard Hammond’s Workshop.

Explaining how he managed to buy Olivia in the UK, Hammond said:

“I got an email from a guy called Jenico, he’s a South African airline pilot who lives in the UK, who said ‘I’ve got Olivia. I imported this car from Johannesburg, just as I did Oliver’, and he said would I be interested. Yes.

“Then I thought, oh, here we go, he’s got me. But it was incredibly reasonable, he asked, I suspect, less than what it’s worth. I went over to see it and it’s not bad. It’s got all the bits and pieces, a lot that Oliver doesn’t have, every bit of trim. It’s a complete car.”

The new car arrived at CarFest disassembled, requiring the mechanics to reassemble the classic Opel during the show. Although challenges arose during the installation of the engine and the initial attempts to start it, by the conclusion of the event, the car was fully assembled.

On the last day of the event, once the car was prepared, Oliver and Olivia had their inaugural drive together around the track. Still a better love story than most ones out there.

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