Zip Auto

Restoring historic character
and purpose

Zip Auto

HISTORIC PRESERVATION

Constructed in 1938, Zip Auto reflects the period’s popular Art Moderne Style. The historic building showcases the style’s signature qualities, including a flat roof, smooth finish, and horizontal emphasis. A restoration effort renewed the structure’s historic character, preserving its entrance and storefront, fenestration, color scheme, and ornamentation. Unlike most historic buildings in Missoula’s downtown district, the structure was restored to resume its original function. As an auto repair shop, Zip Auto restores a variety of vintage cars, relating the building’s historic nature to its operational purpose. The project gracefully transitioned the building from past to present, and was recognized by the Missoula Historic Preservation Commission with a 2008 preservation award.

Zip Auto

Restoring historic character
and purpose

HISTORIC PRESERVATION

Constructed in 1938, Zip Auto reflects the period’s popular Art Moderne Style. The historic building showcases the style’s signature qualities, including a flat roof, smooth finish, and horizontal emphasis. A restoration effort renewed the structure’s historic character, preserving its entrance and storefront, fenestration, color scheme, and ornamentation. Unlike most historic buildings in Missoula’s downtown district, the structure was restored to resume its original function. As an auto repair shop, Zip Auto restores a variety of vintage cars, relating the building’s historic nature to its operational purpose. The project gracefully transitioned the building from past to present, and was recognized by the Missoula Historic Preservation Commission with a 2008 preservation award.

A character-definining feature

The project’s most challenging undertaking was replacing the building’s trio of wooden garage doors. Custom detailing was required to replicate the quality craftsmanship, and no historic records of the original design existed to guide the process.

A character-definining feature

The project’s most challenging undertaking was replacing the building’s trio of wooden garage doors. Custom detailing was required to replicate the quality craftsmanship, and no historic records of the original design existed to guide the process.

A second wind for an old building

The restoration upgraded the historic building’s outdated mechanical and electrical systems, as well as renovated the front desk and restrooms to satisfy ADA requirements. The concrete floor was removed and replaced for structural upgrades, while exterior surfaces were patched, sanded, and repainted to accentuate the original inset striping in the concrete finish.

Awakening a
tired interior

The project utilized as many original features as possible to renew the building’s historic charm. A significant portion of shop equipment was salvaged and reused, original light fixtures were removed, rewired, and replaced, and exposed steel trusses were cleaned and repainted a vibrant red. Additionally, a collection of historic signs were retained and prominently showcased.

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