The 24th annual Copperstate 1000 hits the road April 6 for a four-day, 1,000-mile tour of southern Arizona, featuring a superb contingent of vintage sports, GT and race cars in what has become one of the nation’s premier road rallies.
This year’s Copperstate 1000 route takes ralliers through the scenic and historic southeastern corner of Arizona, visiting the famed Old West town of Tombstone; a stop in Bisbee, the quirky mining town turned artists’ colony; “hill climbs” up the winding mountain roads of Kitt Peak and Mount Lemon; and a tour through the magnificent cactus-studded scenery of Saguaro National Park.
The event starts Sunday, April 6, with the 86-rally cars spread out for public inspection on the baseball field at Tempe Diablo Stadium during the annual Field of Dreams show. The parking lots around the stadium usually are as interesting as the main show as local hobbyists and collectors drive their special old cars to the stadium to show off.
Field of Dreams concludes with the rally cars being introduced and flagged off one at a time in a European-style sendoff for the first day of driving. The rally runs through April 9.
The 86 entries include exotic ’50s and ’60s sports and racing cars from such makers as Ferrari, Maserati, Jaguar and Aston-Martin; vintage touring cars, such as the oldest vehicle in the rally, a 1924 Bentley; plus Corvettes, Shelbys and a rare Devin SS. There’s a 1955 Studebaker President Speedster and a 1957 Porsche Carrera Speedster.
Some of the cars are truly spectacular.
“We’re very lucky to have Bill Pope bringing his 1952 Aston-Martin DB2/4 Bertone-bodied roadster,” said Kelly Whitton, spokesperson for the Men’s Arts Council, which organizes the Copperstate 1000 as a benefit for the Phoenix Art Museum. “It’s just phenomenal.”
The Aston-Martin Bertone was featured in January at the inaugural Arizona Concours d’Elegance at the Arizona Biltmore.
“We also have a Lamborghini 3500 GT Zagato, one of two essentially prototype cars ever made,” Whitton added.
The rally is accompanied by a squad of DPS state-police officers on motorcycles, mechanics experienced with vintage cars to handle the inevitable breakdowns, and a support staff made up mainly of volunteers from the Men’s Arts Council.
The large number of road-going participants makes for some logistical challenges, Whitton said, especially for the small towns where the group will be staying in overnight stops.
“We’re pretty much taking over the entire town of Tubac,” Whitton said. “It’s all rented out.”