WA rancher has another gig: Ferrari master technician | Northwest


David Geary’s Deer Park farm has a couple of dozen mares used as mothers to raise foals from a rare breed.

But Geary uses his tools in a barn-shaped shop to work on different kind of horses — those that power Ferrari cars that can reach 100 mph from a standstill in just a few seconds.

The master technician is one of only a few dozen in the world who has the knowledge and skill to work on cars that represent the prideful possessions of those with the means to purchase them.

And after 22 years of flying every two weeks to work in San Diego, Geary decided earlier this year to take his trade to the remote-working extreme: The Ferraris now come to him.

Earlier this week, Geary, 57, had two Ferraris in his shop from Japan and another one from Japan stuck on a container ship somewhere on the California coast. He also had a car from an owner who lives in San Diego.

“Ninety percent are car enthusiasts,” Geary said of Ferrari owners. “They are not buying a Ferrari to make it go faster. They appreciate the beauty, the way it handles and they want it perfect all the time.”

Many owners, including some celebrity clients in California whom he did not name, prefer to watch as Geary works on their cars.

“I’m a perfectionist,” he said. “I love working on something and when you give it back to them … it’s corrected and it’s back to perfect. They can appreciate that.”

Born in England

How a Ferrari master technician came to make a Deer Park horse ranch his workshop is a rather lengthy tale.

Geary, an Irishman, was born in England and holds passports from both places. He immigrated to the States in 1987. He then went to college in Chicago to study automotive technologies.

As he spoke, Geary displayed little to no Irish accent.

“When I came to the States, I wanted to be an American. That was my thing,” he said. “I wanted everything about America and I worked hard losing the accent. But it does come out after a few pints.”

After college, Geary attended Skip Barber Racing School in Connecticut.

“I became their engine and gear-box builder,” he said.

His late wife, Gloria De Los Santos Geary, who died in 2016 after a battle with brain cancer, got a job in California and the couple moved there in the early 1990s.

Within a short time, Geary saw a job opening for a Ferrari technician at Ferrari Beverly Hills.

“I believe it was my racing experience that got me into it,” he said. “I worked there 9 1/2 years. I was on the race team (Ferrari Challenge Series) as well as working as a dealer.”

It’s about that time that Geary met John Amette, 75, who works as the Ferrari Classiche (pronounced Klass-i-kay) Program Manager for Ferrari of Newport Beach.

In that role, Amette inspects older cars and gathers identifiable markers for applications that he sends to Ferrari to obtain certificates of authenticity.

“We’ve known one another since around 1990 and worked together in the technical” side of the business, Amette said of Geary.

Most dealers have a master technician to handle certain aspects of their clients’ needs, he said.

“We have a master tech here who I’ve known since he was 25,” Amette said. “He’s 61 now.”

With newer Ferraris, the first thing technicians do is open a laptop, he said.

“But working on the earlier cars was really the only exposure you could get,” he said.

“David was a race mechanic. He worked on formula cars. Some of those skills are necessary for working on the earlier generation cars.”

That work then builds standing.

“Obviously, David, through the years … got enough contacts and reputation that people wanted to take their cars to him,” Amette said. “The clientele is not created with clever advertising.

“It’s a referral. It’s someone who worked with David and was very satisfied. They are going to share that with someone else.”

Geary said driving a Ferrari is unlike anything drivers can typically experience driving nearly any other vehicle.

The fastest he’s driven a Ferrari was 161 mph on a track, he said.

“I’ve done 140 mph on an on-ramp,” he said. “That’s the most scary part, how quickly they accelerate.”

The Ferrari SF90 Stradale has a twin-turbo, V-8 engine that also has an electric motor between the engine and the gear box.

It’s rated to go as fast as 201 mph and can accelerate from zero to 100 in about 3 seconds, he said.

“That’s the unbelievable part, how quickly you get there,” he said. “And, you don’t spin the wheels. You are putting power to the road.”

With the new cars, drivers don’t have to bother to look down. The speedometer reflects onto the windshield as a heads-up display.

Moving to Washington

Geary and his wife moved to 50 acres north of Kettle Falls in 2000, but he continued to work full time with the Ferrari racing team.

“Then I got a call from a friend who was a dealer in Newport Beach. He just opened a dealership in San Diego, and asked if I would like to move back.

“No way,” Geary said. “But I’ll work two weeks a month. He said, ‘OK.’

“So, I flew up and down for 22 years. I would also fly around the country, even places like Alaska, to work on problem cars.”

The travel took its toll, and then he lost his wife in 2016.

In 2020, Geary remarried to Jenny Youngblood, 54, who is a high school teacher in Chewelah.

She also had 40 acres outside of Deer Park where she raises horses.

Around the same time he started his new relationship, Geary’s friend, who had lured him back to California, sold a network of Ferrari dealerships.

“They just went full corporate,” Geary said.

The new owners tended to emphasize working only on newer cars.

“There are a lot of Ferrari owners who have new cars and old cars,” he said. “If (the dealerships) put limits on working on older cars, that’s an opportunity that I saw.

“My wife said, ‘Why don’t you just build a shop here?’ ” Geary said.

So he did, but he designed his shop to look like a hay barn so onlookers would have no clue that cars — ones that can bring more than $1 million on the open market — are parked inside.

He noted that the largest number of Ferraris in the country are registered in Montana, for tax and other purposes.

“It’s not like I have to hang a shingle,” he said. “They transport the cars to me in containers. I’ve been working nonstop.

“My hope is that local people, who can afford Ferraris, will buy one now because there is a place to service them.”

(c)2022 The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.)

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