Plimley Motors (1893 – 19??)

PimleyMotorsPlimley Motors
1010 Yates Street
727-735 Johnson Street
Victoria, BC

“Distributors of quality transportation”

Plimley Motors Ltd. was a multi generational family business that was started in 1893 by pioneer auto dealer Thomas Plimley. The business was originally founded as a bicycle repair shop until Thomas sold the first car in Victoria in 1901, a tiller-steered Oldsmobile. Plimley would eventually sell the Swift, Coventry, Humber, Rover, two-cylinder Buick and the air-cooled Franklin. The dealership would later deal strictly with English automobiles. Of these their selection consisted of Jaguars and Austins but would later include MGs. Plimley also carried the Austin Healeys and then Rovers. And Plimley Motors didn’t just sell cars, they serviced them too.

The company of Plimley Motors Ltd. ceased in 1991.

Thomas Plimley
(Born: 1871, Walsall, England – Died: 1929, Victoria, BC)

Thomas started Plimley Motors Ltd. originally under the name Thomas Plimley Ltd. His wife Rhoda became the first female driver in Victoria.

Thomas Horace Plimley
(Born: March 5, 1895, Victoria, BC – Died: March 21, 1985, Vancouver, BC)

Eldest son of Thomas and Rhoda Plimley, he was the second generation owner of Plimley Motors. In 1936 Horace kept the success of the original Plimley by founding Plimley Motors in Vancouver on Howe Street. The location became one of British Columbia’s largest dealerships. Another dealship Horace was responsible for was Plimley’s Chrysler Dodge at 2277 W. 4th Ave. In the 1950’s it would be known as Plimley Fourth Avenue.

Basil Paul Plimley
(Born: June 21, 1924, Victoria, BC – Died: September 7, 2014, Vancouver, BC)

Basil, son of Thomas Horace, became one of the few third generation executives of a BC business. Basil ran the family businesses from 1957 until 1986.

Basil was a genuine lover of music, art, horses, golf, antiques and all things to do with William Shakespeare.

Information Source(s): Canadian Rodder, bullet, Wayne Watkins, Old English Car Club, The Vancouver Sun and Vancouver Island Bikers.

Written by James Robert Shaw.


7 thoughts on “Plimley Motors (1893 – 19??)

  1. Hi James, It’s nice to have this business remembered. But just so you know, Basil’s son, Mark Plimley, also worked at Plimley Fourth Avenue, making Plimley Motors a 4 generation business, certainly a rarity these days. Oh, and the last sentence of your article I wrote for my father’s obituary when he passed away. I am Basil Plimley’s youngest daughter, Denise. Cheers. šŸ™‚


    • I grew up in Kits and the Plimley’s dealership was a fixture on 4th Ave, My mother often took us there when getting parts for my father’s garage business on 4th.

      Prior to World War I, Thomas Plimley Sr. also sold Canadian built Russell-Knight cars. These were luxury cars often favoured by politicians and top businessmen. If there are any family photos of Thomas with these cars (or Henderson motorcycles) I would love to add these to my research collection.


      • Hi Peter,

        That’s a fun story. I wish there were Canadian cars now! Anyway, sorry, but I do not personally have one single photo of Thomas Plimley other than what I found published here in this nice article:

        Click to access spanner_volume_21_august_2012_print.pdf

        You have to scroll all the way down. Rovers mostly. There may be other family members who see this and write you, possibly relatives in Victoria, or Suzette Plimley’s boys Blair and Noel Walker, who may have some old family photos.

        Good luck, take care!


      • Hi Mike, that’s cool to hear from a former worker there. Unfortunately, James no longer keeps tabs/ contributes to this blog but I’m sure he’d be glad to hear from a former employee. ā€“ Ed.


      • Interesting… I’ll send you an email šŸ™‚


  2. Hello my father worked for Plymouth on 4th ave in the 50s as a mg mechanic came from England they imported about then also
    I have a 1966 valiant from there and would like to have more information about it any records from the dealership would be great thanks Jeff


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