Earnhardt Auto Centers founder and patriarch Hal “Tex” Earnhardt, Jr. died at the age of 89, leaving three children and several grandchildren. The company confirmed this news April 19 on its website.
Tex Earnhardt was a household name in Arizona for decades. He grew up in Texas before moving to Arizona with his family as a teen. He was a rodeo cowboy and worked at the family gas station located on Arizona Avenue in Chandler.
Scoring a Ford franchise at age 20 made Tex the youngest Ford franchise owner. Earnhardt Ford, the first of many Earnhardt Auto Centers locations, started in 1951 in Chandler.
Earnhardt Auto Centers continued to expand and open more dealerships, gaining recognition around the Valley and state. Tex became known as the straight-shooting cowboy car dealer who offered no-nonsense deals.
Tex’s iconic commercials ran for decades on TV, in local publications and on Valley billboards. The commercials featured Tex riding a steer and saying his signature tagline, “That ain’t no bull.” On social media, fans shared memories of Tex’s no-nonsense business approach and his generosity to the community. Tex Earnhardt truly left his mark on generations of Arizonans.
Over the years, the Earnhardt brand grew to 23 dealerships representing 17 brands, with locations in the Phoenix and Las Vegas markets. The Earnhardt family also runs two QuickLane Service Centers and two body shops, and has nearly 3,000 full- and part-time employees throughout the organization.
Earnhardt’s sons, Hal and Jim Babe, joined Tex in the business, and so did several of his grandchildren. Family members still run Earnhardt Auto Centers and Earnhardt Ranches, and Tex was regularly involved in day-to-day business.
“The company today is based on values that Tex instilled in all of us,” said grandson Dodge Earnhardt in a statement. “‘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.”
While the family mourns the loss of Tex Earnhardt, they plan to continue running and expanding Earnhardt Auto Centers, according to a statement on their website. The company will surely continue to thrive as a memory to Tex Earnhardt. And that ain’t no bull!
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