Ford, Chrysler Buddy Up With Toby Keith, Bill Goldberg, Zac Brown For America's Troops

April 23, 2010
Screencap from Ram's 'Letters for Lyrics' promotional site

Screencap from Ram's 'Letters for Lyrics' promotional site

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Spring has finally sprung, and two of the Detroit Three are rolling out promotional programs that take advantage of the warmer weather. As an added bonus, both promos also have big benefits for members of the armed forces, including car giveaways, charity donations, and free music downloads.

Ford's "Operation Drive One" centers around day-long festivals in ten cities across the country. As you might expect, those events will feature a good number of new-vehicle displays, but there'll be other fare, too: classic car shows, driving challenges, and autograph signings with celebs like wrestler Bill Goldberg (who'll be traveling in his 1970 Boss 429 Lawman Mustang). "Operation Drive One" also includes a raffle for service members (both active-duty and veterans), with a list of prizes that includes a 2011 Ford Mustang, a trip to the Ford Championship NASCAR Weekend, and a concert for the winner's home base with longtime Ford fan, Toby Keith.

Perhaps best of all, "Operation Drive One" also features a fundraiser for the National Military Family Association, a nonprofit that fights for benefits and programs that protect uniformed services families. For each test drive taken at a given stop on the tour, Ford will donate $20 to the local chapter of the NMFA, up to $10,000. That money will help the NMFA provide scholarships for military spouses, teen leadership programs, and other initiatives that improve the lives of military families.

Ford's "Operation Drive One" kicks off tomorrow, Saturday, April 24, at Fort Sill in Lawton, OK. Subsequent stops include Nellis Air Force Base (Las Vegas, NV), Camp Pendleton (Oceanside, CA), Fort Lewis (Fort Lewis, WA), Fort Hood (Killeen, TX), Jacksonville Naval Air Station (Jacksonville, FL), Norfolk Naval Station (Norfolk, VA), Andrews Air Force Base (Washington, D.C.), Fort Benning (Columbus, GA), and Fort Bragg (Fayetteville, NC). There's more info at

Not to be left out the fun, Chrysler is launching its own "Letters for Lyrics" program, which pairs the automaker's Ram line of trucks with country music group Zac Brown Band. The program has set a goal of sending 1,000,000 letters to U.S. soldiers stationed around the globe, and to achieve that, Chrysler is offering a free CD to anyone who writes to service member. (According to the Ram website, that offer is valid as of May 10.) The CD is called Breaking Southern Ground, and features songs from Zac Brown Band and artists on Brown's label, Southern Ground Records. Details aren't entirely clear from Chrysler's press release, but it looks as if the letters need to be handwritten (no e-mails) and delivered to your local Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, or Ram dealer. It's not quite the same as a daylong festival, but hey: it still gets you out of the house.

As an added bonus, fans can visit to see footage of Zac Brown Band's recent USO tour of the Persian Gulf, and the first 100,000 visitors can download a free copy of the band's current single, appropriately called "Free". For some reason, the "Letters for Lyrics" promotion is buried several clicks into the website -- which seems a little careless and maybe a little shady. We'll spare you the trouble and give you the direct link:

For the curious, we've posted full press releases about both programs below. Don't forget the sunscreen!

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New cars, NASCAR races and even an exclusive concert by country superstar Toby Keith, this weekend Ford launches "Operation Drive one"
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  • Ford launches "Operation Drive one" to honor the men and women of the military donating $20 per test drive for the National Military Family Association through "Drive one 4 UR Troops"
  • The 10-stop tour is designed to provide U.S. military bases with fun, family entertainment including driving challenges, interactive vehicle displays, classic car shows and an autograph signing with former wrestling champion, Bill Goldberg
  • All active duty and veteran service members can enter to win prizes including a trip to the Ford Championship NASCAR weekend, a new 2011 Ford Mustang and an exclusive Toby Keith concert for their home base at the event or at
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