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2013 Copperstate 1000 Rally – Report and Photos

Michael Leventhal turns over the steering wheel of his 1953 Ferrari 340 MM Le Mans Spyder to Derek Hill. The car is the very one that Hill’s father first drove and raced in Europe.
Michael Leventhal turns over the steering wheel of his 1953 Ferrari 340 MM Le Mans Spyder to Derek Hill. The car is the very one that Hill’s father first drove and raced in Europe.

Report and photos by Larry Edsall

The 23rd annual Copperstate 1000 vintage and sports car rally was held April 7-10, 2013. An event-record 94 cars, their drivers and co-drivers, were entered in a four-day drive that would have justified changing the event’s name this year to the Copperstate 1111.1 on roads in northwestern Arizona (and far southeastern California and the lower little corner of Nevada).

Those roads varied from flat runs across the floors of the Sonoran and Mohave deserts to steep and winding routes over (and sometimes around) mountains more than 12,000 feet in elevation.

The weather was just as varied as the geographic and topographic surroundings, ranging from the expected high temperatures in the desert to unseasonal cold, warp-speed wind on the high plateau, and even snow in the mountain-level elevations.

The event begins with the annual Field of Dreams car show at Tempe Diablo Stadium, spring training home of the Los Angeles Angels baseball team. This year, in addition to the 94 Copperstate cars, the playing field featured an elegant contingent of vehicles from the local chapter of the Classic Car Club of America, with various other clubs displaying their cars — from the exotic to the sometimes bizarre — in the parking lots on either side of the stadium.

The Copperstate 1000 annually launches with the Field of Dreams car show in and around Tempe Diablo Stadium.
The Copperstate 1000 annually launches with the Field of Dreams car show in and around Tempe Diablo Stadium.

The destination on the first day of the drive was Laughlin, Nevada, sort of a little Las Vegas, but instead of The Strip, Laughlin has The River, the Colorado River, as its main drag and as the reason for its location.

The glitz of neon gave way the second day to the nostalgia of driving historic Route 66 through Oatman, Kingman Hackberry, Peach Springs, Seligman and Ash Fork. From there, the route turned south, and then turned uphill, following tightly wound 89A up and over Mingus Mountain and then down between the red rocks of Sedona.

Day Three had the Copperstate contingent driving through one canyon (Oak Creek) and then peering over the rim of another (the Grand Canyon).

Day Four, the route was Sedona to Phoenix, but not via the Interstate. Instead, it was a by way of a wonderful and winding two-lane via Bagdad and Arizona’s Joshua Tree forest (which may be smaller and less well known but nonetheless is much better than California’s).

The Copperstate is organized by the Men’s Art Council as a fund-raiser for the Phoenix Art Museum, site several years ago of the famed Curves of Steel exhibit showcasing classic cars as rolling sculpture.

The drive is accompanied by a group of motorcycle officers from the Arizona Department of Public Safety. To show their appreciation, Copperstate participants created the 10-90 Copperstate Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization that provides emergency assistance to DPS officers and their families.

10-90 is the radio code in Arizona for “officer needs assistance” and it was sounded for real the final day of the rally when one of the DPS motorcycles was struck by a car (which was not part of the rally). The officer was flown from Sedona to the intensive care unit of a Phoenix hospital. He is expected to recover from his injuries, and the 10-90 Foundation will provide help for his family during his recuperation.

As usual, Ferraris, Jaguars, Porsches, Shelbys and 300SLs were numerous. But making this event even more special than usual was the presence of perhaps less prominent marques and very rare if not unique vehicles, which was one reason for the record size of the participant field.

“We had so many great cars apply,” said Kelly Whitton, program manager for the Men’s Arts Council.

Not only were the cars special, but in many cases, those cars were newly purchased, many being risked to a thousand miles — or 1111.1 miles — after being owned for only a few months.

One example — well, actually, two: Frequent Copperstate participant Rick Rome of Dallas bought a 1955 Devin SS — the last the 18 cars built by Bill Devin — at the Russo and Steele auction last summer in Monterey, California, and entered in in the Copperstate. But Rome and his wife and co-driver, Nancy, were only 20 miles along the route when the car’s small block V8 engine expired.

Devin SS
Rick Rome’s Devin SS was the last of 18 cars designed and built by Bill Devin. The car raced, and crashed, and eventually found its way back to Devin, who owned it for 27 years and updated the brakes and engine.

No worries. The Copperstate has title sponsorship from the Bell Lexus dealership, and the dealership brings along a few new vehicles just in case any of the Copperstate cars encounter mechanical problems.

But instead of finishing the route in the Lexus, the Romes drove it back to the stadium, where their even-more-recently acquired 1931 Chrysler CM-6 sport roadster was parked, awaiting its trip home to Dallas. The Chrysler formerly was owned by the late Martin Swig, founder of the California Mille rally, and was purchased in January by Rome at the Bonhams auction in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Back at the stadium, the Romes climbed aboard the Chrysler, which Swig had set up in the style of the Chryslers that raced the Mille Miglia and at Le Mans and Spa in a bygone era, and they caught up with and completed the Copperstate without further incident.

The Romes didn’t have a further incident, but John and Peg Leshinski of Scottsdale did, and it might serve as a warning to others who drive open cars.

The Leshinskis were driving their 1951 Allard K-2 — a car originally purchased, owned for 40 years, and raced up Pikes Peak by Indy racer Al Under Sr. — north on route 95 in California when a southbound semi created so much turbulence that even the hood strap on the Allard broke, with the hood coming loose, pivoting back and slamming down on the Leshinskis.

Tragedy was avoided, however, because — and for the first time! — the Leshinskis were wearing helmets.

Peg Leshinski said the impact was “like being hit by a railroad tie.”

John, who somehow got the car stopped safely, said that because the car had only tiny Brooklands-style wind screens, he knew there would be a lot of buffeting as they drove and he didn’t want Peg to be any more uncomfortable than necessary. He decided 1950’s-style racing helmets were the solution, and found a pair of French-made Chapal helmets — “they looked like what Phil Hill wore” — with clear but full-face visors.

“There were two good things that happened,” John said. “One was the helmets. The other was that Sydney Allard made the bonnet from aluminum instead of steel.”

Oh, and there was one other good thing, Peg added.

“The guys from Hagerty [insurance] were two cars behind us. After making sure she and John were OK, she said, they started taking pictures of the damage and said the Leshinskis would have a check to cover the repairs by the end of the week.

Although not as dramatic as the Leshinskis’, every car’s driver and co-driver have stories to tell after such an event. We have to share one more:

Chris Andrews of Fort Worth, Texas, brought two cars to the Copperstate this year. He and Jennifer Moore were in a 1962 Shelby Cobra and mutual friends helped him put Wayne Carini and Derek Hill in his 1962 Aston Martin DB4.

Carini is a car-restorer and host of the “Chasing Classic Cars” television show. Hill is an auto racer, son of Phil Hill and did the driving for a series of commercials in which a Cadillac ATS is flogged around some of the most dramatic pavement around the world.

“The variety of cars, the roads, the changing of the weather, it all gave it the elements of touring at its best,” Hill said of the Copperstate. “It was fantastic.”

Particularly fantastic for Hill was an experience in another Copperstate car. Michael and Katharina Leventhal of Chicago not only own a 1953 Ferrari 340 MM Le Mans Spider, but one that carries some important Hill family history.

The Leventhals invited Derek Hill to experience some Copperstate miles behind the wheel of their car, “the very same car that was the first car my Dad drove and raced in Europe,” Derek Hill said. “The same car!”

2013 Copperstate 1000 Rally – Photo Gallery


1960 Aston Martin DB4
Brent Berge’s 1960 Aston Martin DB4 leads Bruce Covill’s 1972 Ferrari 365 GTC/4 around a curve on old Route 66 between Oatman and Kingman, Arizona.
1962 Aston Martin DB4 and 1953 Ferrari 340 MM
Michael Leventhal’s 1953 Ferrari MM follows the 1962 Aston Martin DB4 driven by Wayne Carini and Derek Hill.
1972 Ferrari Dino 246 GT
Dwight Tyndall’s 1972 Ferrari Dino 246 GT cruises old Route 66
956 Ferrari 410 Superamerica
Jack Thomas’ 1956 Ferrari 410 Superamerica climbs Mingus Mountain. Thomas’ car was the one on display at the Turin show in 1956 and at one time was owned by the Saudi royal family.
1971 Fiat Dino 2.4
Richard Nash’s 1971 Fiat Dino 2.4 descends Mingus Mountain toward Jerome and Sedona.
1963 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider
Joe Moch takes his 1963 Ferrari 250 GT short-wheelbase California Spider up Mingus Mountain.
1966 Shelby Cobra 427
The reopening of a gold mine has put heavy trucks on this stretch of Arizona road, and the repairs include some interesting patchwork. Chris MacAllister’s 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 looks like it’s driving on a Jackson Pollock canvas.
1931 Chrysler CM-6 sport roadster
After the engine expired in their 1959 Devin SS, Rick and Nancy Rome completed the Copperstate route in their 1931 Chrysler CM-6 sport roadster, even if it meant bundling up on a cold and windy afternoon.

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1966 Alfa Romeo TZ 1
Don and Janice Polak’s 1966 Alfa Romeo TZ 1 carries the last number of the Stradale build. The car went from Italy to Canada in 1972 and was acquired by the Polaks in 2009.
1966 Alfa Romeo TZ 1
Don and Janice Polak’s 1966 Alfa Romeo TZ 1.
1971 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona
Bill and Marcy Hammerstein cruise along the Mother Road in their 1971 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona.
1955 Aston Martin DB3S
Painted orange by its original Dutch owner, this much-raced 1955 Aston Martin DB3S sold for more than $3.8 million last summer at the RM auction in Monterey. Scott and Jody Rosen drove it on the Copperstate 1000.
1955 Aston Martin DB3S
1955 Aston Martin DB3S of Scott and Jody Rosen.
1951 Allard K-2
John and Peg Leshinski drive their 1951 Allard K-2, sans its hood, which was ripped from the car on the first day of the rally and folded back and smacked driver and co-driver, who were saved because they were wearing newly purchased helmets.
1956 Jaguar XK 140 FHC
Richard and Diane Belveal drive their 1956 Jaguar XK 140 fixed-head coupe on the Copperstate 1000.
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe
This 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL spent two decades in the Briggs Cunningham Automotive Museum in Costa Mesa, California, and had not been registered from 1974 until 2000. Tom and Melissa Thornhill are making up for that lost time with events such as the Copperstate 1000.

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1959 Porsche 356A D
Ron and Joan Yagoda’s 1959 Porsche 356A D gets its D from its Drauz-produced body.
1970 DeTomaso Mangusta
Dan Mershon and Peter Volny did the Copperstate 1000 in this 1970 DeTomaso Mangusta.
1948 Cisitalia 202S MM Nuvolari Spider
Herb and Alden Wolfe tackle Route 66 in their immaculate 1948 Cisitalia 202S MM Nuvolari Spider.
1952 Cunningham C-3 Vignale Cabriolet
Charles Schoendorf and Martin Mercorelli took Schoendorf’s 1952 Cunningham C-3 Vignale cabriolet on the Copperstate. The car is one of only five cabriolets and features a three-position top.
1952 Cunningham C-3 Vignale Cabriolet
1952 Cunningham C-3 Vignale Cabriolet
1953 Ferrari 212 Vignale
Sidney and Anna Lee Allen’s 1953 Ferrari 212 wears bodywork designed by Giovanni Michelotti and build by Alfredo Vignale and his carrozzeria.
1953 Ferrari 212 Vignale
1953 Ferrari 212 Vignale of Sidney and Anna Lee Allen.
1953 Jaguar C-type
Among the loveliest lines of any car on the Copperstate were those of Duane and Randall Grimsman’s 1953 Jaguar C-type.

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1953 Jaguar C-type
1953 Jaguar C-type of Duane and Randall Grimsman.
1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SL
Jim and Joanne McDowell do the Copperstate in their 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SL.
1973 Citroen SM
John Boccardo’s 1973 Citroen SM was a hit on the Field of Dreams and attracted a lot of attention as well on the Copperstate route.
1972 Ferrari 356 GTC/4
Rick Kaufman’s 1972 Ferrari 356 GTC/4 originally was delivered to William F. Harrah in Reno, Nevada. The color is called Celeste Gainsborough. The car’s alternator had troubles early in the rally, so Kaufman and co-driver Barry Singh simply changed batteries twice a day to complete the full route.
1954 Dodge Meadowbrook
Jimmy Dobbs III and Lisa Dobbs did the Copperstate in their 1954 Dodge Meadowbrook, a Hemi-powered car that originally competed in the famed Mexican road race. Dodges finished first, second, third and fourth in their class in La Carrera Panamericana in 1954.
Talbot Lago T26 Grand Sports
Najeeb and Nancy Khan did the Copperstate in one of only 51 Talbot Lago T26 Grand Sports produced.
1966 Shelby Cobra 427
Michael Hammer hammers up Mingus Mountain in his 1966 Shelby Cobra 427, which had only 7650 miles on its odometer when purchased at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction in 2006.
1958 Porsche 356 Carrera GT Coupe
Porsche developed its four-cam Carrera engine for the 550 Spyder, but also put it into the Carrera GS (luxury) and GT (racing) coupes. Steven Harris’ is one of only 10 1958 GTs.

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1957 Chevrolet Corvette
Great story: Dad buys daughter a 1957 Corvette for her high school graduation present. She runs off with a boy so Dad takes back the car and eventually sells it to a neighbor, who owned it until selling it to Marilyn and Dale Lillard a year ago.
1962 Shelby Cobra 289
Chris Andrews’ 1962 Shelby Cobra 289 was the first one offered for public sale (to John Everly) and was the third of three factory competition cars.
1959 Aston Martin DB4 GT
Stirling Moss raced this 1959 Aston Martin DB4 GT at Nassau Speed Week when the car was new. Terry and Noel Hefty drove it on the Copperstate.
1961 Kelly Vignale Corvette
Gordon Kelly worked in Brook Stevens’ design studio and wanted an Italian body on a Chevrolet Corvette chassis, so he designed one and had it created by Vignale. John Breslow acquired the 1961 Kelly Vignale Corvette from Kelly’s family and brought it out for the first time on the Copperstate.
1958 Lister Jaguar, ex-Briggs Cunningham
Now owned by Colin Comer, this is the second of two Lister Jaguars built for and raced by Briggs Cunningham’s team. In 1958, it won six of eight starts, including the June Sprints at Elkhart Lake and the Grand Prix at Watkins Glen in the hands of drivers such as Walt Hansgen, Ed Crawford and Archie Scott Brown.
1958 Lister Jaguar, ex-Briggs Cunningham
1958 Lister Jaguar, ex-Briggs Cunningham Team Car
1955 Jaguar D-type
T.G. and Will Mittler did the Copperstate in this 1955 Jaguar D-type, which originally was delivered to Cuba and raced in the Cuban Grand Prix before finishing eighth overall at Sebring in 1956.
1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302
Stuart Shoen’s 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 cruises historic Route 66.

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1971 Porsche 911E
Trent and Jen Abbott bought this Conda Green 1971 Porsche 911E just so they could drive it on the Copperstate 1000.
Porsche 911S
Remember the opening sequence of the movie Le Mans, with Steve McQueen in a 911S. Thanks to Richard and Lynda Sirota, those along the Copperstate 1000 route could enjoy a flashback.
1960 Austin-Healey 300 MK1 BT7
John Tulloch’s 1960 Austin-Healey 300 MK1 BT7 leads Ed Marshall’s 1966 Pontiac GTO and Billy Weaver’s 1967 Shelby Cobra 427 along a stretch of historic Route 66.
Jaguar D-type
There were two — count ‘em — two D-type Jaguars on the Copperstate this year. This 1956 model is owned by Gary and Sandra Schaevitz.
1955 Fiat 8V Zagato
Only 114 Fiat 8Vs were built. Dan Kolodziejski’s is a 1955 with double-bubble bodywork by Zagato and is one of only six such Zs still known to exist.
1961 Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster
James W. Taylor and Molly Mills do the Copperstate in a 1961 Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster.
1957 Lancia Aurelia B24S convertible
This 1957 Lancia Aurelia B24S convertible wasn’t imported into the U.S. until 2002 and David Wood is only the car’s third owner since new.

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Bruce Meyer, 1964 Jaguar Semi-Lightweight E-type
Bruce and Raylene Meyer zoom along the Copperstate course in their 1964 Jaguar Semi-Lightweight E-type. The car originally was produced for a Canadian driver and made its debut in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1964.
Bruce Meyer, 1964 Jaguar Semi-Lightweight E-type
1964 Jaguar Semi-Lightweight E-type of Bruce and Raylene Meyer.
Copperstate cars snake along Highway 89A.
Copperstate cars snake along Highway 89A.
1973 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spider
Scott Morris’ 1973 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spider was the 102nd of only 121 built.
1959 Jaguar XK 150 OTS
Martin and Sandra Button’s 1959 Jaguar XK 150 open two-seater is one of only 840 built with the steering wheel on the left side of the cockpit. The Buttons are only the car’s third owners.
1971 Alfa Romeo Montreal
Scott McPherson chased this rare 1971 Alfa Romeo Montreal for several years before finally obtaining it. Only 500 were built, and none originally were exported to the United States.
1953 Ferrari 340 MM Le Mans Spider
Michael Leventhal turns over the steering wheel of his 1953 Ferrari 340 MM Le Mans Spider to Derek Hill. The car is the very one that Hill’s father first drove and raced in Europe.

[Source: Larry Edsall]