Darrell Zipp

March 16, 1946 - October 6, 2021
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Marana Mortuary & Cemetery
Lonnie Cooper
Janet Reid
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Darrell Bernard Zipp, 75, of Tucson,  Arizona passed away October 6, 2021.  He was born March 16, 1946 in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Bernard (Bernie) and Clara Marie (Mary) Zipp.  He was an only child.  He had a typical Midwestern upbringing, being surrounded by family and friends.  After graduating in 1964, his draft number came up and he entered the U.S. Army in 1965.  He was a member of the 11th Armored Calvary.  He spent a year in Vietnam from August 1966 until June 1967, as a combat soldier and tunnel rat.  Upon his return home, he decided  that it was time for a change, so he moved to Southern California.  He attended the Art Center College of Design in West L.A. where he excelled in his classes.

In 1968 he started doing freelance artwork for various clients.  He was hired by Ed “Big Daddy” Roth to work on Ed’s magazine “Chopper”.  After seeing Darrell’s talent, Ed arranged for an interview at the Revell Inc. model car company.  Darrell was hired on the spot and became head of Research and Development.  He loved the challenges of the job but really desired desired to work on full scale cars.

In 1976, while working full time at Revell, he also started a business on the side called Traditional Street Rods in Newhall, California.  That started 3 1/2 years of working at nights and weekends.  He built 1932 coupes for $1895.  TSR was the first in the industry to build a 1932 Ford coupe in fiberglass.  After making and selling bodies the grind of working long hours took its toll and TSR was closed forever.

Darrell stayed with Revell until it was sold.  He hired on at Magoo’s Hot Rod Shop as a fabricator.  Magoo’s was a full service shop which was known for Model A roadsters.  Darrell worked on everything except paint and upholstery.  He worked on many projects including Magoo’s personal car which featured a curved windshield Model A roadster with a torsion bar suspension. It was shown at the Oakland Roadster Show in 1986.

After working at Magoo’s for 5 years Darrell opened his own full service street rod shop called Zipper Motors.  It was located in Canoga Park, California.  People started asking him if he was going to start building fiberglass bodies again.  It had been 10 years since he built the 1932 3-window coupe, so he decided he’d need to have an innovative new project.  He sat down and designed a ’32 Roadster with the cowl eliminated, which would stretch the hood and doors.  It also showcased  a curved windshield.  The Diamond Anniversary Deuce was born in 1992.  It was introduced at the LA Roadster Show in Pomona.

People started calling him to ask about his “Zipper”, so he also started calling the Deuce by that name.  He would build over 115 of that body style, including about half of them being complete rollers.

In 1984 he reunited with a former high school classmate, Rosalee Veres, and they were married on July 23, 1989. She was the love of his life.

In 1993 they decided it was time to leave Southern California and moved to Grand Junction, Colorado.  In 1999 he sold the tooling for the 1932 Zipper Deuce and promptly introduced his new Lakes Modified roadster.   In the next 7 years he turned out 80-plus of that body style.  In 2010 he sold Zipper Motors and retired with Rosalee to Tucson, Arizona.

There he spent the next 11 years building cars for himself and Rosalee.  He fulfilled a dream of building and driving his own car at the Bonneville Salt Flats.  His final hot rod was a traditional ’32 Ford 3-window coupe which came out of his original mold from TSR (Traditional Street Rod) days.

Through the years, Darrell and Rosalee traveled a lot (including 5 trips to their favorite spot, New Zealand).  They also made trips across the US driving their various street rods and being involved with friends in the Hot Rod industry.

His absolute favorite thing to do was spend time with his daughter, Wendy and grandchildren, Eva and Owen.

In July 2021 they drove 5000 miles in their first cross country trip in 2 years.  Darrell did most of the driving and, after visiting with family and friends, returned home.

Besides his wife, Rosalee, Darrell leaves behind his beloved daughter, Wendy Lovell and grandchildren, Eva and Owen Lovell; plus many extended family and friends.  He was proceeded in death by his parents.  There will be a Celebration of Life at his favorite spot to be- his shop in Tucson, on October 23, 2021 from 1:00 – 4:00 pm.  There will be an honor guard to celebrate this Vietnam Veteran.

In lieu of flowers please consider donating to the charity of your choice.



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Timeline for Darrell Zipp

Born: March 16, 1946
Died: October 6, 2021

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Marana Mortuary & Cemetery

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The staff of Marana Mortuary & Cemetery.


Tom Short posted on 2/25/23

I knew Darrell here in Minnesota before he moved out to Ca. We both had car projects we worked on. Saw him once after that in Louisville at NSRA Nationals. My condolences to his family.


Lonnie Cooper posted on 2/2/22

Dear Mrs Zip and family,, Please accept my most sincere condolences. I worked in the R and D shop at Revell with your late husband. He was one of the most talented individuals that I had ever worked with in my career. After Revell I move to Corona CA and work at Fleetwood Motorhomes, retired from there and move to Prescott AZ. I wish I had know Darrell was living in Arizona, sure would have like to have visited with him and talked about old times. Sure am sorry for your loss he was a great person! Lonnie Cooper


Hank Bernstein posted on 10/21/21

Darrell may you Rest in Peace and Godspeed. Rosalee as you might recall, I visited Darrell in your Grand Junction Colorado shop with my son Jordan to meet Darrell and check out the Zipper Lakes Modified and to consider purchasing the components to build one around my ALFA Romeo V6 Engine which I did. Mine was an early Track Nose, Duvall Windshield version and perhaps the first with '3-pedals'. Approximately 4 years later I drove it out of my garage for the first time and have been driving it for 9 years to date. I think of Darrell every time I look at the car, let alone drive it! So sorry for your loss and our heartfelt sympathies and condolences to you and your family and friends.


Janet Reid posted on 10/20/21

We will miss you Darrell, life will not be the same but we have so many fond memories to cherish. Rest In Peace now Darrell, we will look out after Rosalee for you. Good bye dear friend for now, lots of love John & Flick xx


Squeak Bell posted on 10/15/21

Very sorry for your loss Rosalee,the world was a better place with Darrell in it for sure. Now it's Hot Rod Heaven's time. He will be sorely missed but always fondly remembered with love and respect. From all your Kiwi mates in Bakersfield.....RIP Zipper.


Frank Totcky posted on 10/9/21

Darrell and Rosalee moved to grand Jct. Co .Got to know both of them and Darrell helped me with my 31 sedan 32 steel deuce and a 27 lakester and we did alot of business together ( Plating) and went to the la roadster show to promote his lakes modified I am great-full to know them Both If there are rodders in heaven he will be teaching them to build and drive Love and Respect ,Honor Miss you man!


Bobby and cyndy nixon posted on 10/9/21

We will miss you neighbor and Vietnam buddie.


Jeff posted on 10/9/21

Darrell was an amazing man. I'm sure he forgot more about tooling than most people know. Working for him and Rosalee wasn't work, it was informative fun.


Dan and Karen Cihlar posted on 10/9/21

Darrell touched so many lives and had talent beyond compare! He will be missed by many and our condolences to Rosalee and family


Tania posted on 10/8/21

So sorry for your loss He will be greatly missed... His art that he did on cars was a gift from God.... And he made a lot of people happy!!