Re: [slimgaugeguild] Dave Garcia

Jeff Reynolds

I met Dave Garcia in 1982 when he called to ask if our very 1st open house of Mears' Madness could stay open for another hour until he got there. It was just happenstance that we lived in the same town, Downey, and there were enough hangers on to stay open until 6 p.m. He arrived bringing an HOn3 Locomotive, number 456 in naked brass I believe, and put it on the track. It was then i began to see the magic of micromotors/gearheads to make your layout space seem to actually double or triple.  Dave was a very smart guy with an unbelievable memory which did not diminish with age, like the rest of us, with fondness for narrow gauge brass. He was the product of a Hispanic father and a German mother. He spoke German but not Spanish. He was a historian and knew much about the World Wars. He was versed in a wide variety of obscure subjects, like Civil War Bands (both North and South), and was in demand as a consultant, one of the last people left that knew anything about Westinghouse Air Brakes used in urban transit vehicles.

Thus began a 38 year friendship with this giving and personable guy.
Dave reworked and remotored all twelve of my narrow gauge brass fleet: 20, 40, 41, 42, 74, 318, 452, 453, 455, 461, 462, 463. Because of all his magic, they all run the same speed, except the 318 which has a 4:1 gearhead not 6.3. It only runs from Montrose through Ridgway to Ouray, anyway, so it doesn't have to double head. He was fanatical about accuracy, CASTING, machining, and replacing brass domes; adding metal lattice to some tenders; marker lamps with jewels; kit bashing the best K series plows, especially for the 455 with that big welded patch which I've never seen modeled. Once I painted and detailed the locos, and added PFM-II sound to half of them, all his upgrades were to make those now miniscule brass models the spitting image of a photo of that loco.
In return, I painted and detailed a small chunk of his K-27 fleet, and gave him a stack of excess brass rolling stock. I got the much better end of the deal. Over time, I think he possessed and transformed every single version of the K-27, early and late including all rebuilds, plus dozens of other brass pieces.
In summary, i feel like I've lost a brother. I'll miss Dave terribly.
Bob Cook, his best friend, should reveal some details as they become available. The 20, 455, and 42, all Dave's work below at Placerville. Closer is the 42 with K-series plow at Placerville.
In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum, David Garcia.

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