John George Diefenbaker was the Prime Minister of Canada while John F. Kennedy was enjoying unprecedented popularity as President of the United States and transistor radios everywhere were playing hits like Alley-Oop by the Hollywood Argyles. The year was 1960. Peter Dixon and his partner Eric Lewis had been in business for three years. They called the company Ensign Motors Ltd. Peter's idea was to have a regal, British sounding name to suit the Victoria community. The Canadian Navy had their official flag, the White Ensign and the most significant landmark in Victoria at the time was the Empress Hotel (more British heritage). In 1957 Peter and Eric set up business on Quadra Street at Jimmy Little's parking lot for two hundred dollars a month in rent with a portable office and a selection of quality used cars. One year later they took on the Lloyd Wagon and Borg Ward franchises. (Dr.Carl Borg Ward originally built the factory for the German war effort). The partnership continued to grow and in 1960 they proudly became Victoria's Renault dealership moving to a new location at the corner of Quadra and Pandora in down town Victoria. Their new facilities boasted a showroom, parts department and two busy mechanics.
Shortly after, came another move to even better facilities and so during the year 1964 Ensign Motors moved to the corner of Yates and Cook Streets.
To supplement the selection, in 1967 they took on the Root's franchise which included popular models like the Sunbeam Alpine, the Sunbeam Tiger and the Sunbeam Imp.
During the early eighties Gilligan's Island was a very popular TV series and Peter thought that this would make an effective promotion. Allan Hale "Skipper" of Gilligan's Island fame made a series of commercials for Ensign with the message "The Captain Is You", which was run on local television stations. Peter says, "This was one of our best promotions".