As per the warranty records kept by Fred Marriott, my Model 62 Stanley left the factory on January 30th 1911. It is believed to have been purchased new by the City of Vancouver Waterworks Department to provide transportation for the employees reading the water meters. It was owned by them for about a year before they decided it was the wrong vehicle for this application and it was put up for sale. Sometime during 1913 the steamer was purchased by Boyd A. Walker, a steam engineer at the Todd Inlet power plant across from the site of Butchard Gardens in Victoria British Columbia. He used it as regular transportation until the end of 1917. In May of 1918 the licencing records show the vehicle was transferred to Fred Walker who only kept it for a short time.
In June of 1919 a fellow named P. A. Glenny purchased the car. By the time he got the Stanley the boiler was in need of replacement. Some time during the next few years he pushed it onto the ferry that traveled down to Seattle ,WA to have the boiler replaced at the Stanley dealership. Once fixed it is assumed that he drove it back under its own power. He didn't drive the vehicle to much during his ownership but just enjoyed the magic of owning a steam powered vehicle. At some point Mr. Glenny moth balled the car by removing much of the running gear and valves and carefully wrapping them in oil soaked burlap sacking then storing them in wooden cheese or butter boxes of various sizes. He then hung the vehicle from the rafters of his barn so it was suspended about a foot off of the dirt floor. This action, although extreme, probably saved the Stanley from the elements.
During a Sunday drive down Gorge Rd. in 1943 Jack Lewers suddenly pulled the family Hudson over to the side of the road and exclaimed in a loud voice " My God I think I spotted a Stanley Steamer in that barn", with that he immediately got out of the car and proceeded up the driveway towards the barn to try and broker a deal. The vehicle was eventually purchased by Jack & his brother Dexter (or as he was better known, "Smilin' Ben") for the sum of $400. They had the Stanley transported to the Dickson Bros. Garage on the corner of Douglas St. and Humboldt St in Victoria. After examining the car in detail they realized that reassembling it was beyond there abilities. Dexter decided they should try running an ad in the newspaper for assistance. To everyone's surprise the ad was eventually answered by an ex-Stanley mechanic from the USA that now lived in Prince George B.C. The fellow agreed to travel down to the coast and help them put it back together. Once the Stanley was back to being operational, Smilin' Ben used it as a promotional tool for his car dealerships in Victoria and Nanaimo by taking it in local events. In April of 1949 Smilin' Ben had the vehicle transported to Vancouver for a parade where he met with famed car collector and singer James Melton. In 1950 Phil Foster purchased the vehicle from Smilin' Ben for a grand sum of $2,000.00. Phil Foster had supposedly tried to purchase the vehicle directly from Mr. Glenny many years earlier but was never successful. Mr. Foster had dreams of opening an antique automotive museum and had purchased many antique vehicles but unfortunately it never came to light.
In 1962 Gerry Wellburn bought the entire collection of antique automobiles that Phil Foster had amassed with his own intentions of adding a automotive addition to the B.C. Forest Discovery Center in Duncan. By the time Mr. Wellburn purchased the vehicle it was not operational. During 1963-64 the car had a lot of mechanical work done to it by George Hebbert, Neil Brady-Brown and the Blackstaff family. The boiler, burner and the pumps were all refurbished. We also believe this is when the locomotive sight glass was installed so it was easier to monitor the boiler water level. By end of 1964 the vehicle was once again in drivable condition. During the next ten years it was kept in the basement of the log building at the B.C. Forest Discovery Center and only taken out in the summer for small events, although it did participate in the 1967 Vintage Car Run from Prince George to Victoria being operated by George Hebbert.
In 1975 Vern took over ownership of the vehicle and installed a new burner and boiler assembly (I believe this would have been it's third boiler). He also removed the Presto-Light tank from the running board and replaced it with a tank for holding pilot fuel so he could convert the vehicle from a single fuel system to a two fuel system with a low pressure pilot that ran on naptha. Over the next thirty seven years the car was toured up and down the west coast precipitating in HCCA, VCCC, and various steam tours. It attended countless parades and car shows often coming away with some sort of award. He had registered the vehicle in the HCCA Diamond Jubilee Tour based out of Colorado with hopes of completing the pikes pike hill climb. Unfortunately he didn't get to make it to that one. On May 11th 2012 Vern passed away due to illness. I purchased the vehicle from the estate and have assumed the position of care taker over this historical artifact.
This is a short film made by Lorne Findlay (my grandfather) during the 1966 Vintage Car Club Centennial Tour. You can see the Stanley being driven by George Hebbert in several shots.