HomeCar CultureCommentaryHal ‘Tex’ Earnhardt, 1930 - 2020

Hal ‘Tex’ Earnhardt, 1930 – 2020

The Arizona dealership mogul had one of the biggest automotive groups in the Southwest


Hal ‘Tex’ Earnhardt Jr., former rodeo cowboy and legendary founder of Earnhardt Auto Centers, has died at 89.

Beginning in 1951, when he was just 20 years old, Earnhardt opened his first Ford dealership in Chandler, Arizona, with a loan from his father, who owned a service station. From there, the business grew to 23 dealerships – one of the largest auto groups in the Southwest.

His slogan, “That ain’t no bull,” was known to Arizonians spanning across seven decades.

His death, at age 89, was announced Sunday on the company website, earnhardt.com.

Dodge Earnhardt, grandson of Tex Earnhardt, said in a statement, “The company today is based on values that Tex instilled in all of us, ‘Treat everyone the way you’d treat your Mama’ and ‘People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care’ are a few core sayings from Tex that we hold dear.”

Tom Stahler
Tom Stahler
Tom Stahler is the Managing Editor of the ClassicCars.com Journal. Tom has a lifelong love of cars and motor racing – beginning with the 1968 USRRC race at Road America, in a stroller, at eight months of age. His words, photos and broadcasts can can be found on a myriad of media. He has won the Motor Press Guild’s Dean Batchelor Award and a Gold Medal in the International Automotive Media Awards.


  1. Just this weekend – after seeing the touchy feely ads of some local NJ dealers I was wondering what happened to him and the anything goes dealers of a different age. I remember (coming from Long Island NY) and starting in Tempe AZ (at ASU – 1971) and this amazing almost comical character on TV – not only riding a bull – but promising a choice of an Easy Rider Rifle Rack or a pair of Tony Lama Cowboy Boots with every pickup truck! So crazy….. Then the battles with Cal Worthington (of so many Johnny Carson skits)… and it was a big deal opening his facility on what was the outskirts of (a little western town) …. with his helipad (and even ads with him getting on or off a bull and into his copter I believe that remained the largest dealer of trucks in the US for years.

  2. Sorry To hear he left us.
    I had a Shop on Mill Ave.from 81 to 83 in Tempe and always liked his –No Bull –
    Even put a Sticker on my Car.
    Geore Jones would say — Who is gonna fill his Shoes ???
    Armin Bel Air – Berlin – Germany

  3. I used to truck cross country from the East coast and occasionally have to spend a weekend in California back in the 80s and remember seeing his commercials on T.V. They were unique


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