The history of my Stanley before it having been owned by Phil Foster had long been relegated to a series of names and dates that I had mined from information kept in the B.C. Archives and a few older individuals in the car club that could remember the history. The information was always a little vague and I had accepted that was the best I could get.
When the 1949 PNE Parade picture turned up in my e-mail from the Vancouver city archives it held a piece of vital new information. When the image was blown up to full size there was writing on the passenger side door. "Smilin' Ben Used Cars Victoria & Nanaimo". The statement in itself isn't anything to write home about because I knew that Smilin' Ben was Dexter Lewers and his name had come up from the B.C. Archives. The diamond in the rough was the spelling of it. I always thought it was Smiling Ben not Smilin' Ben. The research I had done in the past had turned up nothing so I had always conceded that Dexter Lewers was a little bit of a mystery. But armed with that new information I set to work to see what Google could dredge up.
After some searching I stumbled across an article written about the "The Cherry Bank Hotel". In the comments section a lady had posted a rather detailed history of the restaurant Dex's Rib House that was located there in the 50's and 60's. She also mentioned in her comment that Dex (Dexter) owned a pair of car dealerships in Victoria and Nanaimo under the name Smilin' Ben Your Used Car Friend. Vancouver Island isn't that large so I felt confident that I had found a relative of Dexter Lewers who may know something about my Stanley.
I sent this lady a message asking if she or anyone in the Lewers family could remember my Stanley. The response from her husband was enlightening to say the least...