Dave's RR VMI Campaign

Many of us know and remember the terrible accident Dave Graves was in on the flight line in Afghanistan.  Throughout that whole event and most of his subsequent recovery, I had no idea what I could possibly do to help them out personally.  Last year I got my chance.  You may or may not remember, but Dave had a '69 Plymouth Roadrunner at the Virginia Military Institute with us.  We all took this car out several times including the the night he met his wife when a bunch of us all went to Valley Country in Roanoke.  When Dave joined the Marine Corps right out of school, the RR was parked in his mom's barn in Ohio and has sat ever since.

Last summer Jamie reached out to me since she knew I was into these cars asking if I knew anyone in Virginia area that could help get the car back on the road.  Jamie said Dave was recovering well, but needed something to focus on and look forward to.  Since it was a Plymouth there was no question; we had it shipped to my place in Staunton for a bit of it's own rehab.

Dave's been by to help out several weekends and he was there when we first got it fired up after 25 years and he was there to help set the engine back down in the car after a repaint.

I focused not on a full restoration to factory specs, but a overhaul targeted toward safety & reliability in order to get him back behind the wheel.  A quick list is:
-COMPLETELY new fuel system
-COMPLETELY new brake system
-COMPLETELY new cooling system
-Rebuild heater box & core
-The entire front suspension was pulled, blasted, painted, and rebuilt with new bushings & links.
-We did a sizable frame repair to cut out some suspicious rust areas and get real steel back in there
-Had to have a new floor welded in; that was unfortunate.  We had to outsource that. 
-New carpet
-Repaired the seat springs and recovered with factory correct pattern.  Got to be comfy and as a bonus all the stink left with the old interior & carpet.
-Complete exhaust from engine to chrome tips w/ Dave's favorite Thrush mufflers

Here are some before & after pics:
Daves RR Before & After 

In no way shape or form has Dave asked me to come to you guys nor does he even know that I am.  Dave has funded the vast majority of parts gathering on the car and we got in pretty deep;  But we're in the home stretch.  Here's my thought.

 If you heard about the accident when it happened and like me couldn't figure out how to help, we can finish this thing off with some VMI & Marine Corps input.

There's always a never ending list of things to do on a car like this.  I can use everything given to make the car better than new 

I've set up a GoFundMe campaign to collect for this.  The pool ends July 11, 2019.  This is 2 days before the largest Chrysler/Plymouth Dodge swap meet on the east cost which is in Carlisle PA where I can find anything.

Again, and I stress this, Dave would have parts & supplies drop shipped to my place by end of week if I called him.  I'm just looking to find a way that we can give back to a guy that gave our country 25 years and very nearly his life.    I'd love to be able to say that some of his key parts were from the VMI Brother Rats of '93 if any of you see fit.
  • David Avery 
    • $50 
    • 29 mos
  • Jonathan Kucera 
    • $85 
    • 29 mos
  • W . 
    • $100 
    • 29 mos
  • Charles Leggett 
    • $93 
    • 29 mos
  • William Cox 
    • $93 
    • 29 mos
See all


Michael Zamalis 
Mount Sidney, VA
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