In 1937, the first Opel Kadett was added to the Opel range. Production was interrupted by World War II.
Production facilities of the Kadett were transported to Russia after the war, and thus this early Kadett formed the basis for the Moskvitch 400/420.
The first Opel Kadett after the war appeared in October 1962; 649,512 cars were built until July 1965. It was later called the Kadett A. In addition to the standard saloon there was an L (luxury model), a coupé, and an estate (called Caravan). The new Opel OHV engine was available as 1.0 with 40hp (30 kW) and as 1.0 S with 48hp (36 kW).
British TV presenter Richard Hammond paid £1200 in Botswana, Africa, for a yellowish green 1963 Kadett for use in a 2007 Top Gear challenge (series 10, episode 4). Though it leaked loads of petrol and had only one working front brake, Richard emotionally bonded to the Kadett almost instantly, claimed it was "the happiest car in the world" and named it "Oliver". Oliver ran flawlessly until Hammond sank it in water over the bonnet trying to ford a river; Hammond, refusing to admit defeat, worked all night to get Oliver running again. On the next episode, Richard admitted he loved Oliver so much that he shipped Oliver to the UK, saying: "Oliver loves me so he is coming home." Co-host Jeremy Clarkson quipped, "He only wants a British passport." Finally in England, Oliver makes occasional reappearances in the TV studio including on the November 2nd edition of the show when Hammond had to hill start a lorry in front of Oliver as part of the HGV challenge. Oliver now co-stars in TV show "Richard Hammond's Blast Lab" on kids channel CBBC.