Family heirloom: Alvis hare

When I pop my clogs, my daughter and granddaughters will inherit a few things that they may not be terribly enthusiastic about – but woe betide them if they dump them, because then I shall surely come back to haunt them! Be warned, my sweet Swiss Rose, and your equally sweet rosebuds!

Alvis hare radiator mascot

Here is one of them: one of my earliest playthings, this brass hare served as a doorstop in my parents’ house for as long as I can remember – how they acquired it, I have no idea. My father had a habit of picking things up “that might come in useful” or that took his fancy, so he could have found it anywhere. It originally came from an Alvis car, made in Coventry, England, around a hundred years ago.

I discovered that there had been at least four different versions of the hare mascot and they are still being manufactured today by the Louis Lejeune mascot company. I can vouch for the fact that mine is even older than me, and indeed it’s one of the earliest, known as the “big paws” model. From 1928 onwards they were chrome-plated and carried the signature of their maker AEL (for AE Lejeune). Mine, however, is brass, has never been chromed, and has no signature, making it pre-1928. Its age was verified by Mr Dave Rees of Red Triangle Customer Service who told me:

There were many different versions of Hares used to embellish the radiator caps of various Alvis cars, the one depicted in your photo I have seen on a 10/30 from 1922. There are only 2 10/30 cars known to exist still, one of which is in restored condition and the other has not been restored and I couldn’t tell you the condition of that one.

Whilst your hare may not have originally come from a 10/30, it most certainly would have been from a very early Alvis car made in all likelihood before 1923.

The mascot that was similar to yours that I have seen in use was not chromed and the owner is very thorough about his restorations, so I believe that having it the finish yours is in would be correct.

The 10/30 was a beautiful car so I ordered a print of a coloured drawing showing a 1921 10/30 Alvis with my hare sitting proudly atop the radiator. That’s probably the nearest I’ll ever come to reuniting him with his original vehicle. 

If you want to know more about Alvis cars, follow this link:

15 thoughts on “Family heirloom: Alvis hare

  1. This is great! Super photo of Herr Rabbit. Oh, no, British, Sir Rabbit. Those of us of a certain age recognize this statement: picking things up “that might come in useful”. Who ever could let loose of Alvis. He’s a keeper.

    • Definitely a most pugnacious hare – ready for anything! My father always had just the right little widget to fix whatever was broken, but also a vast collection of “” when he died.

      • I think that was very common of people of his generation. My mother was the same way, right down to a huge coffee can filled with rusty and bent nails that she’d picked up from the grounds around our barn. People of hard times knew how to reuse/recycle before those terms became buzz words.

  2. One thing I can say for certain, reading your blogs are often educational. I’d never heard the phrase, “pop my clogs” before. I don’t think I have anything listed in my will which anyone in my family would be hesitant to inherit.

  3. This was fascinating. How lovely to own something so old and with such history.

    Of course, everything old has a history; it’s just that we often don’t know what it is 🙂

    Really enjoyed this.

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