"Keep clear of the lioness" - not the traditional warning sign you would expect when buying a new car.

But that's exactly what customers at 'Harvey's Garages' on Penarth Road, Cardiff,  were faced with in the 1960s.

The garage, owned by Cardiff millionaire Norman Harvey, at one point had it's very own resident lioness.

With a flair for publicity - Norman took the saying 'putting a tiger in your tank quite literally' and came home with Sheba.

Weighing over 160lb at just four months old, the unusual pet was brought to the Welsh capital from Birmingham in late 1968.

Whilst usually chained up around customers, it was not uncommon for the queen of the jungle to wander around the garage - and unless they'd warned of their visit, they'd likely be faced with the beast roaming free.

Sheba the lioness with Norman Harvey at his Cardiff garage, March 1969.

At the time, Sheba's owner Norman Harvey said: "She is a fantastic animal, and I can do anything with her.

"She's getting a bit strong for me now, but she has a good temperament and there are no problems with her."

With inch long claws, and piercing green eyes - it's easy to see how members of staff were wary of the animal.

The 160lb lioness was often left to roam free around the garage.

Nevertheless, Sheba became quite an icon among the people of Cardiff, with many stopping off at the garage to pay her a visit.

"She could tear a man's arm off but I've trained her not to, she keep them [her claws] in when she is playing around," said Mr Harvey.

"I think she is going to be a loyal animal - much better than a guard dog. Obviously if there were any problems I'd have to think of getting rid of her."

Whilst there were believed to be no incidents involving the beauty, Sheba was eventually given to a safari park after Penarth Council grew concerned.

The trainee motor fitter come millionaire was quite the character around Cardiff.

As well as owning Sheba, at one point he owned Penarth docks and was a successful rally driver.

Despite being widely known for his business ventures - he actually competed in five Monte Carlo rallies - in his infamous bright orange porche.

After moving from Cardiff to Jersey, as an avid flyer Norman often flew between the two - and usually piloted the plane.

The Western Mail reported in October 1980 that whilst trying to land in cloud and fog, Norman's plane crashed into a house 400 yards from a runway in Jersey.

Four people who were in the house were injured, and Norman died as a result of the collision.

Before his death, he owned 37 garages employing 300 people as well as the 100-acre Penarth docs.

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