Earnhardt Auto Centers and Founder Tex Earnhardt have a long history in the Valley and in the Southwest. Founder Tex Earnhardt grew up on a ranch in Texas before moving to Chandler with his family in 1951 at age 20. That year, Tex and his father Hal Earnhardt Sr., opened a gas station and sold Ford vehicles.
Their early car dealership grew one vehicle at a time — they needed to sell one car before they could afford to purchase the next car for sale. As Earnhardt Ford grew, Tex developed a relationship with Lee Iacocca, who invited Tex to become a Chrysler franchise owner. In the early 1980s, Tex opened a Chrysler dealership at Baseline and Rural roads in Tempe.
Earnhardt Auto Centers continued to expand and open more dealerships, and they gained recognition around Arizona. Tex became widely known as the straight-shooting cowboy car dealer who offered no-nonsense deals. His iconic commercials ran for decades on TV, in local publications and on Valley billboards. These commercials featured Tex riding a steer and saying his signature tagline, “That ain’t no bull.” This was ultimate truth in advertising because in the commercials, Tex rode a steer.
Tex told stories of filming those commercials in an article from the East Valley Tribune. According to this account, the “No Bull” tagline originated from a joke. Tex was out on a ranch with his cowboy friends when one of them asked Tex when he was going to stop fooling around, and stop riding that bull. Tex responded, “that ain’t no bull” because he had just “removed its things not 30 minutes ago.” Everyone laughed, and the saying stuck. In the 1960s, crews filmed live footage of Tex on a steer right inside the Channel 5 studios in downtown Phoenix.
As Earnhardt Auto Centers kept growing and opened more dealerships, the “No Bull” ads continued and updated. Over the years, Tex’s kids and grandkids joined him in the family business.
Today, Earnhardt Auto Centers has 21 locations representing 17 vehicle brands and is one of the top auto dealerships in the country. They expanded beyond the Valley, with locations in Prescott Valley and Las Vegas. When you’re ready for a “No Bull” car buying experience, check out any Earnhardt Auto Centers location in person or online. The Earnhardts treat their customers like family, and that ain’t no bull!