HomeThe Market24th Copperstate 1000

24th Copperstate 1000


Photos by Larry Edsall

Each spring, the vintage-car rally season starts with the Copperstate 1000.

As its name indicates, the Copperstate is a four-day, thousand-mile driving tour of Arizona.

While the Copperstate gets things started, it is followed very quickly by the California Mille and a series of other sometimes fast-paced drives in various parts of the country.

This year, the 24th annual Copperstate 1000 was staged on the baseball field in Tempe Diablo Stadium, spring training home of the California Angels, before the more than 80 participating cars rolled out to explore southeastern Arizona, including the Kitt Peak National Observatory; the Mission San Xavier del Bac (aka the White Dove of the Desert); the historic Spanish settlement turned art community of Tubac; the border town of Nogales; Bisbee, which in the early 1900s was the largest city on the route from St. Louis to San Francisco; Tombstone and its OK Corral; the Pima Air & Space Museum; Mt. Lemon, site of one of Arizona’s ski hills; and the Boyce Thompson Arboretum.

Participating cars on the 24th Copperstate included 15 Ferraris (from a 1953 212 Vignale coupe to a 1973 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spyder), 10 Jaguars (’51 XK 120 to ’69 E-type), eight Porsches (’57 Carrera GS/GT Speedster to ’73 911 RS/RSR), eight Shelbys (’64 289 Cobra to ’67 GT350), and seven Mercedes-Benzes (including four — count ‘em — four 300SL Gullwings!).

The oldest vehicles on the trip were a 1924 Bentley 3-Litre Vanden Plas, 1934 Lagonda 16/80 Vanden Plas-bodied tourer, 1936 Cord 810 Westchester and a 1940 Ford Deluxe convertible.

Though dominated by sports cars, the rally also included a 1954 Lincoln Capri from the Carrera Panamericana, a 1955 Chrysler C-300, 1969 Dodge Charter R/T, 1970 Ford Torino NASCAR stock car, a 1971 Pontiac Trans-Am HO and a 1973 Citroen SM.

But the rally is about more than just enjoying fantastic scenery from inside amazing vehicles.

The Copperstate is organized by the Phoenix-based Men’s Arts Council to annually raise money for the Phoenix Art Museum and for programs that support the state’s law enforcement officers. (Indeed, it was a contingent of Copperstate participants who created the 10-90 Copperstate Foundation, an IRS-recognized nonprofit, to provide emergency benefits for families and dependents of Arizona officers injured or killed in the line of duty.)


Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


  1. Larry,

    Always enjoy your photos and these are some of the best. Also look forward to reading your blog, whatever the topic.

  2. Gee, not a word about the Gullwing that wound up in a ditch on its roof or the Porsche-truck crash leaving the stadium.

  3. I was at the scene of the Porsche accident . The pick up turned , right in front of the Porsche , into a restricted lot that was reserved for car show participants only . The driveway was clearly marked with a sign and traffic control cones . The truck turned in front of the Porsche . The truck actually turned into the exit side of the driveway as the right side was blocked off.
    I stayed around and overheard the truck driver claim the Porsche was doing 60 – 70 MPH . Not so.
    I would estimate Porsche MPH at 40-45 mph . Maybe a bit over but certainly not unexpected with modern traffic today.
    Bad move ,Truck Guy . I hope you learn a lesson about aggressive driving here.
    I hope the Porsche Owner recovers and come back to Arizona again .
    I have owned one of these Porsche ‘s and to see the paint peeled back to bare metal was a shame .

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