The 32nd annual running of the Bell Lexus North Scottsdale Copperstate 1000 returns to Arizona in April. It is one of the premier vintage car road rallies in North America that celebrates the automotive cultural legacy by featuring some of the finest working examples of vintage, sports, racing, classic and grand touring automobiles manufactured before the 1974 model year. 

“The Men’s Arts Council (MAC) created this event back in 1990 as a fundraiser for Phoenix Art Museum and the event continues to set the benchmark for excellence,” said incoming Men’s Arts Council President Joel Coen. “Our members, event participants and even the public are ecstatic to have this iconic event return post-pandemic.” 

Each year, a new route covers 1,000 miles of beautiful desert terrain, verdant river valley and alpine landscape throughout the state of Arizona and beyond. Approximately 90 qualifying vintage automobiles participate with drivers and co-drivers from all over the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe. The relationships that are made during these rallies often develop into lifelong friendships and many participants return year after year.

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“The collector car hobby continues to thrive into a lifestyle as more collectors are driving and enjoying their vintage automobiles,” said Copperstate 1000 Chairman Keith McLaine. “The Copperstate 1000 is the epitome of such a lifestyle event and allows participants to enjoy four fully catered days of glorious driving with fellow enthusiasts while having only the sheer exhilaration of the open road to contend with as all the details have been handled by our more than capable staff – from luxury accommodations to fully catered meals, parking lot hospitality parties and a UHaul sponsored luggage truck, the MAC crew thinks of everything.” 

Bell Lexus North Scottsdale has supported the Copperstate 1000 as the title sponsor for over 20 years and plays an intricate part in the rally. They loan the event five brand new vehicles in case a rally car is not able to finish. 

The public and fans of all ages can see the cars participating in the Copperstate 1000 during the Roadrunner event on Sunday, April 3 at Tempe Diablo Stadium from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. The Copperstate 1000 cars are lined up on the outside of the field like a track and are announced as they start departing at 10 a.m. 

“Local car owners are also more than welcome to display their automobiles in the west parking lot,” said Coen. “There’s truly nothing like it, whether you’re a die hard fan or if you’re just looking for something to do with the family, you won’t want to miss the Roadrunner.” 

Some very notable cars will participate in the Copperstate 1000 this year including a 1952 Cunningham C2 Lemans race car. The Cunningham C2, later referred to as the C2r, was Briggs Cunningham’s first serious assault on an outright win in the Le Mans 24 hour race. Sporting aluminum bodywork in the latest style coupled with the brand new overhead valve Chrysler 331 c.i. Hemi engine with LaSalle 3 speed gear change, the C2 had power to burn. It had a tubular ladder frame, conventional front drums from Cadillac, riding on double wishbone independent front suspension, joined to a DeDion rear axle with trick inboard drums. Success was mixed. Of the three cars entered, only one finished in 1951. The car ran as high as second for much of the race, being clocked at 154 mph on the Mulsanne, yet it finished a disappointing 18th after being slowed by mechanical issues late in the race.

Another must see is the 1953 Studebaker Commander. It was the brainchild of noted automotive designer Raymond Loewy. The iconic low-slung design has an aerodynamic profile which has made it a favorite of road racers for seventy years. This Starlight Coupe underwent a frame-off conversion from a stock model in 2012 and subsequently was campaigned five times in Mexico on the La Carrera Panamericana and the Chihuahua Express. During the conversion the chassis and suspension were tuned for endurance road racing and a custom 302 race motor, Tremec five speed, Wilwood disc brakes, quick change rear gears, fuel cell, roll cage and fire suppression system were installed. 

The 32nd Annual Copperstate 1000 runs Saturday, April 2 through Wednesday, April 6 with the 90 vintage automobiles departing at the Roadrunner event on Sunday, April 3 at 10 a.m. from Tempe Diablo Stadium located at 2200 West Alameda Drive, Tempe, AZ 85282.