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.