Dale Earnhardt Sunglasses
A Look Back at the Eccentric Style & Brands of Esteemed Nascar Racer Dale Earnhardt
It’s hard not to think of Dale Earnhardt when you think of NASCAR Legends. Sported as one of the best and known to have revolutionized motorsports, his illustrious career saw him amass a record-breaking seven NASCAR Cup Series championships and 76 race victories. But it wasn’t just his career success or trademark black and silver car that made him an icon of the sport. Earnhardt was also known for his overly bold and eccentric choice of sunglasses which he was commonly seen sporting throughout his career on and off the racetrack. In this article, we’ll delve into the sunglasses of choice worn by Earnhardt and take a deep dive into discovering and identifying the specific brand and models he liked to wear.
Dale Earnhardt Sunglasses: Identifying the Brands
The most iconic pair of sunglasses worn by Earnhardt (as seen in the photo above) is an unusual pair of golden visor-style aviators. These glasses have many unique aspects, not just down to their color, but also the ornate golden logo styled front and center between the two lenses. It’s also worth mentioning these sunglasses are completely rimless (full-rim) which provides a more clean and aesthetically pleasing look.
It has been identified that these sunglasses are made by the once-eyewear brand Gargoyles Eyewear. There are a lot of names knocking about the internet for these glasses including ‘Terminator Sunglasses‘ as they were the same frames worn by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the films. The actual model of these sunglasses is Gargoyles 85 Sunglasses. Most notably sold in black and blue, there’s not actually much information on Earnhardt’s gold edition. It seems that during the high of his popularity, Gargoyle’s released a limited run of these glasses in collaboration with Earnhardt (which can be seen in this Etsy listing here). These were called the ‘Dale Earnhardt Sr. Signature Series‘ and came with 22Kt Gold Plated frames and accents. Due to the rarity of these sunglasses, they now fetch a pretty price among collectors with some pairs selling upwards of $500.00.
The second pair of sunglasses commonly worn by Earnhardt (as seen in the picture below) was slightly more difficult to identify. This Is mainly due to the popularity of this style being produced by a variety of different brands and the fact they really don’t have any distinguishable features (unlike the above Gargoyles with their unique coloring and gold logo accents). The first thing to note is that these sunglasses were defiantly another pair of Gargoyles. Images showcasing the arms (sides) of the sunglasses clearly show the Gargoyles logo which dramatically narrows it down in helping us identify the model.
The problem I had was trying to identify the exact model of these Gargoyle frames. We know that Earnhardt wore these styles later on near the end of his career (around 1999) which allows us to look back at some of the vintage frames sold by Gargoyles around this period. The biggest stumbling block was the fact Gargoyles went out of business just last year so I had reduced information to go off. I had to keep digging further.
We know these glasses are a pair of half-framed wrap-around sunglasses. We also know that on the left-hand side, the rims are adorned with the Gargoyes logo. The opposing side with Gargoyes written out in full text. We also know the rims are fairly narrow in shape which is unusual for Gargoyes who usually opt for these thicker rims in the majority of their frames (in this style at least).
I searched through hundreds of vintage Gargoyles Sunglasses. The closest I could find was the Gargoyles FLUX Sunglasses or The Gargoyles Stakeout. These models look nearly identical to the pair worn by Earnhardt but definitely have slight design variations making them not an exact match. In one last-ditch attempt to find these sunglasses, I went onto the Wayback Machine (a website allowing you to search through archived websites from the past) allowing me to trawl through Gargoyle’s old website(s).
Here I managed to find yet again a variety of frames that look a similar style to Earnhardt’s including the Gargoyles Torque and Gargoyles Breakaway. Yet again I’ve been defeated. Unfortunately, there isn’t much archival documentation from around the time Earnhardt wore these glasses nor any sort of information online regarding speculations regarding the exact model. If anybody has any information on the potential model of Gargoyles glasses Earnhardt wore then please get in touch.