Tex Earnhardt, whose signature catchphrase, “and that ain’t no bull,” made him one of the most iconic business leaders in Arizona history, died Sunday at age 89.

Earnhardt Auto Centers made the announcement on its website:

“With great sorrow, Earnhardt Auto Centers announces the passing “Tex” – whom so many know to be the founder of Earnhardt Auto Centers – at the age of 89.

“Tex Earnhardt is an American Success story. Born on December 9th, 1930 growing up in rural Texas, near the Rio Grande River Valley, he (along with his family) moved to Chandler, Arizona as a teenager.

“Son to Hal Earnhardt, Sr, Tex became a rodeo cowboy and worked at the family’s gas station located in “old town” Chandler, off Arizona Avenue.  Seeing an opportunity to sell the very cars and trucks that he filled and serviced, Tex “Earnhardt became the youngest person to ever receive a Ford Franchise – just before his 21st birthday. Earnhardt Ford (the first of many  Earnhardt Auto Centers) was founded on September 4th, 1951, right here in Arizona.

“Selling one vehicle at a time, Tex built the business by hand with hard work, integrity, dedication and sweat equity; the cowboy way. In the process, Tex raised a daughter and 2 sons.  His sons and several of his grandchildren today are involved in running the thriving businesses of Earnhardt Auto Centers and Earnhardt Ranches.

“In the 68+ years since 1951, Earnhardt Auto Centers has grown from 1 to 23 dealerships, representing 17 brands, with locations in both the Phoenix Metro as well as Las Vegas Metro markets. In recent years, Automotive News has continually ranked Earnhardt Auto Centers among the top dealer groups in the Nation (among more than 150 dealer groups).”