Inspired by what was then football season as well as the "diehard" Packers fanbase, Mike Darrow of the auto dealership based in Menomonee Falls came up with a promotion idea that ultimately landed one Port Washington couple a brand new car.
Jerry and Jean Gruen of Port Washington are now driving a 2013 Dodge Dart after winning the "Chariots for Champions" contest. The car is signed on its rear deck lid by 10 Packers players: Randall Cobb, DJ Smith, Ryan Taylor, Tim Masthay, Desmond Bishop, TJ Lang, Jermichael Finley, James Jones, Bryan Bulaga and John Kuhn, according to a press release from the business.
For 11 weeks, a Packers player drove a different car from the dealership during a given week; the 12th week Russ Darrow himself drove a car. Entrants in the contest would log on to guess which car they were driving that week. From those guessing the right car, a winner was drawn; of the 12 weekly winners, the final name drawn was the Gruens.
"There's a very diehard fanbase ... so there's a great connection between the state of Wisconsin, the Green Bay Packers and football — so it kind of made sense," Darrow said of the decision to couple the statewide promotion with those wearing green and gold. The signatures on the winning car, he said, were added for a unique touch.
"That's kind of cool, that makes it different," he said; the signatures were clearcoated to make them permanent.
The Darrow Group of dealerships started in West Bend in 1965 and is now headquartered in Menomonee Falls, according to a press release from the company. It owns and operates dealerships in Milwaukee, Appleton, Madison, Fond du Lac, Waukesha, Wauwatosa, West Bend, and Greenfield, representing Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Toyota, Scion, Honda, Nissan, KIA,Mazda, and Mitsubishi.
The 11 trucks driven by the Packers players — often trucks or other larger vehicles to accomodate the players' size — are now for sale at the dealership in Milwaukee on North 76th Street.