Stylish Sedan – Lori Mabe’s 1934 Plymouth is Crowned the Goodguys 2023 Meguiar’s Street Rod D’Elegance
Elegant is not the first adjective people typically use to describe a Plymouth. But when you take a stately long-wheelbase 1934 Plymouth PE Deluxe Sedan and turn it over to Roseville Rod & Custom to build into a subtle and refined street rod, the result is nothing short of stunning. For owner Lori Mabe, the finished creation was graceful enough to capture the Goodguys 2023 Meguiar’s Street Rod D’Elegance title at the 22nd Meguiar’s Del Mar Nationals.
This build was a long time coming for Lori, who has been dreaming about it for years. “I’ve been attending the Pleasanton Goodguys events for decades and started collecting parts at that swap meet in the ’80s,” Lori says. “My late husband and I were building a ’31 Ford coupe back then. Later, we bought a rust bucket body of a ’34 Plymouth sedan. One day, I came home and he had sold it, and it broke my heart. It’s been my dream to find and finish that car ever since. My friend Amie Angelo introduced me to Ben at Roseville Rod & Custom and that dream became a reality.”
Ben helped locate a 1934 Plymouth PE Deluxe Sedan in Canada, an older restoration that was a solid starting point. He sent the original frame to Roadster Shop so they could build a contemporary replacement chassis, and the build began in earnest. The RS chassis incorporated a more modern independent front suspension, a four-link rear suspension locating a 9-inch rearend, and 14-inch Baer disc brakes. The design and machining experts at EVOD were called on to craft the 18-inch wheels modeled after the car’s originals, complete with custom center caps.
While the original Plymouth flathead six was a good selling point in 1934, Ben and Lori envisioned more power to make the sedan a stronger freeway flyer. They ordered up a Chevrolet Performance LS3 and fitted it with a custom intake topped by dual Autotrend EFI throttle bodies. Custom air cleaners, valve covers, and other components help lend the engine a more vintage appearance. A 4L75E overdrive automatic transmission handles shifting chores.
Ben says the original body was a clean and sturdy starting point. The Roseville team worked its magic to refine the panel alignment, gaps, and other details, while also fabricating a custom roof insert, firewall, running boards, and bumper pans. The rear fenders were reshaped, and the original spare tire mount was reimagined as a fuel filler. When all the fabrication and bodywork was complete, Roseville’s Chris Barnes applied the understated PPG paint, which is a ’41 Cadillac hue called Berkley Gray.
The Roseville team put a lot of effort into giving the spacious interior an air of 1930s elegance. Mel Silva stitched maroon Relicate leather in a classic style, while the original dash was enhanced with restored gauges by Classic Instruments, custom knobs with pearl inlays, and a custom-machined steering wheel by EVOD atop an Ididit column. The rear seat folds forward and a custom trunk behind it opens up to reveal cocktail supplies, and you’ll find a liquor flask in a custom leather holder in the passenger-side kick panel. Even the dual dome lights were treated to custom Art Deco trim for added flair.
Everything came together in a clean, cohesive, refined package that reveals more details the more you study it. The car first captured the attention of the rodding world at this year’s Grand National Roadster Show, where it competed for the Al Slonaker Memorial Award – and was also revealed to Lori for the first time. It then made its Goodguys debut at the 13th FiTech Spring Nationals in Scottsdale where it earned a Builders Choice nod from Squeeg’s Kustoms. It went up against strong competition in Del Mar this past weekend, but ultimately earned the first Goodguys Top 12 honor of 2023 because, as Lori says, “it’s pure elegance!”
Photos by Mike Christensen & Damon Lee