1938 Opel Kadett K38 Master


  • Believed to be the only one in the UK
  • Rare right-hand drive example
  • Well finished inside and out
  • Top of the range model

The Appeal

In the late 1930s, Opel offered the Brits a taste of German engineering, with a lineup of 4 models that addressed every market segment. 

The entry-level Kadett was praised for its innovative design, which included a chassis-free unibody construction and a number of mechanical elements that were uncommon in small cars. 

Powered by a 1074cc side valve engine, it hosted hydraulic braking and independent front suspension. 

The car was also noted for its stability at speed but the press was also motivated by the smooth styling, which along with its good interior space, flexible engine and decent size boot placed it favourably against the homegrown cars. 

The outbreak of the war effectively halted production and the Opel brand, remained dormant on the UK price lists until the late 60s. 

This 4-door version of the 1938 Kadett K38 Master is believed to be the plusher Special version as demonstrated by its additional exterior chrome embellishments on the side and grill of the car and with additional interior fittings. 

Most likely to be unique in the UK, the car offers a welcome alternative to the usual array of pre-war cars and offers a little more cutting-edge technology in the process. 

A very solid example, with a tidy interior and a strong well-maintained engine, it is a very unique opportunity to stand out from the crowd. 

The History and Paperwork

  • V5 showing only three former registered keepers
  • Recent oil and filter change
  • Binder full of historical articles and information

The current owner obtained the car recently after swapping it for his Studebaker. 

Curiosity and an appreciation of Opel's engineering were his motivation for taking on the car and was surprised by how competent it is to drive. The car has quite a following in Europe, so the parts availability is far better than you might expect and it comes with a source of suppliers. 

It comes with its V5 and its online MOT history suggests it has not covered more than 1000 miles over the last 16 years. Precious little can be confirmed about this car's provenance, but it is believed to be a genuine UK RHD import and that it has also spent a short period in Ireland. 

While there is nothing to back up its restoration, the signs are clear to see by the quality of the work, particularly on the engine and interior. It also comes with a binder full of mechanical information, model history, period articles and details of maintenance guidance. 

The owner has given the car a recent service and is selling it as part of consolidating his collection. 

The Interior

  • Retrimmed interior
  • Upholstery in excellent condition
  • Good carpets and intact headlining
  • additional water temperature gauge

The cabin is well finished, with evidence of renovation at some point. 

The seats are firm and in a clean state with a fresh-looking cloth finish and intact beading. The carpets are in very good condition, with no signs of water ingress. 

The metal dashboard is good, with a few minor marks. The instrumentation is legible and is all said to work correctly. The car has a retrofitted water temperature gauge for peace of mind. 

The steering wheel and gear lever are in good condition. The door cards are well placed with no signs of heavy use, the headlining looks good with no damage or dampness.  

The luggage area is accessible from the back seat, it appears to be solid and dry. 

The Exterior 

  • Presentable bodywork
  • Solid structure
  • Styling betrays its age

The underside of the car doesn’t suggest any significant issues with the integrity of the car, the chassis rails and floor pan look solid with a decent coat of under sealing. 

The sills and inner wings are solid throughout. The body is neatly presentable, with a decent panel fit and no issues with the doors which open and close in a positive fashion. There are a handful of metal blemishes which are to be expected from a car of this age, with minor issues noted on the lowest section of the rear valance and minor signs of weathering on the bonnet cover. 

The rest of the car is positive for wear with no dents or scuffs noted. The paint has been well applied, with an even coverage and no mismatched hues. There are a few age-related blemishes, mostly noted on the rear of the car, along with the odd paint run or masking overspray but generally free of road chips. 

The lights and lenses are in good condition, with the car fitted with functional body mounted indicators. The glass and their seals are in very good shape with the chrome work all complete, although the grill trim is looking a little tired and there is a dent on the rear bumper. 

The wheels are solid, with a little ageing in places. The hub caps are good, with the exception of tarnishing noted on the off-side item. The tyres display a good level of thread, with the off-side front tyre displaying more sidewall wear than the others. 

The Mechanics 

  • Robust 1074cc engine
  • Stainless steel engine parts
  • Clean engine bay

The engine covers are unlocked via a separate key, which operates with no issues. 

The 1074cc side valve engine is well presented, with several recently fitted high-quality stainless steel parts and remanufactured components. The engine starts up with no fuss, with no fluid leaks noted on the day. 

It idles well and is free from any engine maladies and no unwanted noises. 

On the move, the owner states that the engine pulls willingly and that the oil pressure is healthy, with no issues with overheating. It drives remarkably well for a car of its era, its three-speed gearbox engaging gears with no issues. 

The steering is true and the car brakes as well as can be expected for a car of this vintage. The running gear appears to be fit for purpose, with no issues noted with the exhaust system. 

The car rides well, with no reports of knocking from the wheels. 


It’s not often that one can say that they own a truly unique car, but this RHD 1938 Opel Kadett owns that bragging right. 

Its attributes go far deeper than its rarity though, as its technological features, along with its four-door practicality and boot space are worth shouting about. 

It offers any potential suitor with a nice-to-drive, unique and well-presented car that will no doubt encourage strangers to engage in well-meaning conversations!

Notice to bidders

Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.

As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the seller's discretion.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1938
  • Make Opel
  • Model Kadett K38 Master
  • Colour Green
  • Odometer 25,488 Miles
  • Engine size 1074
  • Town Abingdon
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Location Oxfordshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
11 bids from 5 bidders
  • reynold•••• £4,800 31/08/22
  • allen.n•••• £4,500 31/08/22
  • Johnngb £4,000 31/08/22
  • reynold•••• £3,800 31/08/22
  • SuperPa•••• £3,600 31/08/22
  • reynold•••• £3,400 30/08/22
  • SuperPa•••• £3,100 29/08/22
  • SuperPa•••• £2,700 27/08/22
  • reynold•••• £2,400 26/08/22
  • SuperPa•••• £2,200 24/08/22

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