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THE COPPERSTATE 1000 Rally is one of the premier vintage car events in the U.S. Run each spring to benefit the Phoenix Art Museum (www.phxart.org), the Copperstate is a four-day drive through the spectacularly varied scenery of Arizona.
Wife Dottie and I go way back with the Copperstate—in fact, to its first running in 1991. For many of these events—more than a decade of them altogether—we ran our Morgan 1965 Plus Four 4-Passenger Family Tourer.
Now, though, it’s time to offer another enthusiast new adventures. Morgan specialist (and good friend) Bill Fink of Isis Imports in San Francisco is refurbishing the car for resale. For more information, contact Bill at Isis Imports, www.morgancars-usa.com, 415 433-1344.
What follows here is a photo gallery of Arizona, the Copperstate 1000 and our Morgan.
In fact, for the inaugural 1991 event, Morgan trike racer Spence Young, rest his soul, lent us his right-hand-drive Plus Four Roadster. He checked out the car for us each morning, and I recall thanking him along the frigid Mogollon (“muggy-own”) Rim for having turned on the heater.
“There’s no heater,” he said, “that’s engine heat seeping aft.”
Arizona has such geographical variety that the Copperstate’s organizers, the museum’s Men’s Arts Council, vary the route each year.
A favorite route for me is traveling northwest out of Phoenix past Wickenburg and up the Yarnell Grade. It’s a driver’s delight, with moderate-speed sweepers (from the top of which you can see 100 miles).
The drive from Phoenix southeast to Tucson and beyond is fun too. It’s cowboy country, Tombstone being one of the checkpoints, the mining town of Bisbee another (where school kids were given special recess to view the Copperstate cars).
The route into Jerome from the west across Mingus Mountain is another delight for the driver and awesome—not to say a little scary—for the navigator.
The Copperstate begins and ends in Phoenix, originally on the grounds of the Phoenix Art Museum. The 2013 Bell Lexus Copperstate, April 7-10, starts at Diablo Stadium in nearby Tempe (www.facebook.com/Copperstate1000).
Yet another beautiful drive is Oak Creek Canyon coming south from Flagstaff into Sedona. Once there, the red rocks are spectacular.
The inaugural event’s brochure promised “Four Seasons in Four Days,” though generally Arizona springtime is clement. There are exceptions, however.
As its name suggests, a 4-Passenger Family Tourer is perfectly suited to such events.
Not that anyone would travel in the back seat for very long, but—unlike a typical sports car—it has scads of luggage room.
Full disclosure: Don’t buy a Morgan solely for its scads of luggage room. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2013