Harold Gwatney started his automobile career in 1942, sweeping floors and washing parts at his uncle’s garage. In 1944, he went to work at Critz Chevrolet in North Little Rock as a mechanic’s helper and by 1946 was a certified mechanic-all of this prior to High School Graduation! After graduation from high school in 1947, Harold Gwatney held several positions at different car dealerships and in the Arkansas National Guard. On November 7, 1957, Chevrolet approved a franchise for Harold Gwatney Chevrolet Co.
Throughout the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, Gwatney started a variety of business and ventures; including, an apartment complex, a national bank, Harold Gwatney Realty Co., Jacksonville properties, Dalco Enterprises, Inc., Consolidated Insurance Co. and Financial Properties Insurance Co. At the same time, Gwatney held a variety of ranks in the Army National Guard, he was promoted to Major General in 1981 and retired in 1989.
In June 1989, Gwatney moved to Memphis to help his son, Russell, in their second Chevrolet dealership purchased in 1988. Shortly after moving to Memphis, he purchased a third Chevrolet dealership and broke ground on one of the first original Saturn dealerships in the nation. In 1993, he purchased the Ford dealership in Millington. In 1994, he built his second Saturn store known as Saturn of Germantown and in 1998 he built his third Saturn store, Saturn of Jackson in Jackson, Tennessee.
Throughout his career, Harold Gwatney has been very involved in the community including serving two terms on the North Little Rock City Council. Gwatney was also active in the Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce, and many other civic and charitable organizations.