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454-Powered: 1974 Chevrolet Chevelle Laguna S-3

Todd FitchBy Todd Fitch

Many cars from this era wear the most hideously grafted-on oversize bumpers known to man since the late ’50s. In contrast this 1974 Chevrolet Chevelle Laguna Type S3 features a sporty and attractive urethane nose with chrome push bars and a simple rub strip. By christening the Chevelle’s top model Laguna, like the mid-level Malibu, Chevrolet suggests a hip, upscale coupe for people whose sentences include multiple uses of the word “Dude” (some details courtesy of Wikipedia). This big-block Laguna resides in Holland, New York which experiences a very un-California-like average snowfall of 112 inches. Dude! That’s a lot of snow. Offered here on eBay, this high-end Chevy coupe could be yours for the “Buy It Now” price of $4,500.

The interior tells a story of decades of outdoor storage and neglect. The condition of the steering wheel’s metal spokes predicts a similar condition for any metal under the dash, including electrical connections. The plastic parts might clean up, or they may simply disintegrate into dust when you try. The YearOne catalog runs dry after 1972, but other suppliers have select parts for these smog-era coupes, and you might get lucky at eBay or swap meets.

The swivel bucket seats are a must for a car like this. My girlfriend’s cousin had a big-block Laguna in red and white. Sitting in the swivel seat at a family reunion while sipping a drink and answering questions about the car seemed like about the coolest thing ever. To see how suave this car would have been in ’74, and could be again, check out Chevy’s sales literature here on paintref.com.

Sometimes doctors open up a patient and realize that he or she is too far gone to survive the surgery, so they just lower the hood and sigh. This monotone engine compartment shows barely a glimmer of its former glory, though at least the AC and smog parts remain on the 235hp 454cid Turbo-Jet V8. These Colonnade coupes have been dubbed one of the most collectible ’70s American cars, and the value of Hurst Oldsmobiles from this era has doubled or tripled in the last ten years. Logic would predict that even rough examples of Chevy’s comparable car will steadily gain value. While not in running condition, the engine fires, and the seller describes the frame as “mint.” Still, with far cleaner specimens available for twice the asking price, it may be some years before this one might reaches the “epic find” category of a similar 1970 Chevelle 454. What future do you see for this California-themed coupe?

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Comments

  1. Chuck Sibio

    Wow- what a HOJ. No amount of compound can rub the ugly off this. I bet it’s mamma was ugly too..
    I once owned the same year El Camino, thinking back, what was I thinking ?

    3+
  2. whmracer99

    Agree, just can’t see this as a “collectible”. It will be interesting to see if this is someone’s “dream” or not.

    1+
  3. Andre

    Big heavy rotten pig IMO. $4500? …I’d expect closer to $450.

    4+
  4. irocrob

    To me a 1000 dollar car if you really wanted one bad.Money invested worth more than car value.

    1+
  5. Dovi65

    The price seems a little steep; I’d say $2500 is all the money. She needs a lot of help to be her pretty self again, and there wouldn’t be a return on investment for quite some time. Still .. it would be a great labor-of-love project to pick at over time. Not many 70s era cars survive; hopefully someone picks this one up and gets her back on the road.

    1+
  6. Joe Nose

    Laguna maybe, but this one didn’t come out of no laguna seca….

    2+
  7. jdjonesdr

    I’d like to have it, but I agree….. that’s a long ways away from a $4500 dollar car.
    A couple of years ago this would have been one of those cars a junkyard would pay $250 to haul it away.
    I could see paying $1000 for this if I had a beer or two under my belt.
    I’m not sure where that price is coming from – look at his other items and most seem to have realistic prices.

    4+
    • Rush Meade

      Same here and probably 2 ways it can go. 1: Ratty ugly muscle. 2: Resto-mod outta of this world. Only if it was cheaper.

      0
  8. XMA0891

    While it is neat to know that you still could get a 454, the allure of these Chevelles escaped me. A neighbor had one in about the same condition and whenever I saw him, talked on it as though he had a million dollars – As it dissolved into the ground.

    1+
    • whmracer99

      That’s kind of where I’m at. Might make a good donor drivetrain for a 454SS clone pickup or a big block Corvette build. Otherwise, meh.

      3+
      • dennis

        There ya go. 75’s were a lot better looking.

        0
  9. Arild Guldbrandsen

    Not many Lagunas with the 454 option,where made.A collector will buy it,knowing it is the one he or she wants.

    1+
  10. Angrymike

    My buddy had a 73 Chevelle SS 454 in the early 80’s, thing was in excellent condition, green with silver (or white) stripes. I drove it, it rode like a dream and had a bit of HP, but nothing to hairy.
    I really liked that car, till it got introduced to a tree.
    This is like it, only it was a nice green.

    2+
    • 2vt

      I see a ’73 SS454 ElCamino every day. It’s a rolling restoration but the motor sounds awesome

      0
  11. Dan Higgins

    Probably better off looking for a similarly equipped Monte Carlo. I’m not saying I wouldn’t drive one, but the amount of money it would take to restore this one is unreasonable. It was put away wet.

    0
  12. Andre

    A neighbor has one of this era of Chevelle’s – I think it’s an S3 and even the same (faded) burgundy. He has a heavily built nitrous fed SBC in it, along with supporting drive line modifications, including a built glide.

    I’ve always scratched my head at his choice of chassis for such an otherwise wicked drive line.

    Thing sounds like it’s pulling house trailer dragging that big boat anchor of a car around.

    1+
  13. jaymes

    where to start

    0
  14. Vin in NJ

    Title from Nebraska, Then it landed in Colorado until 1990 and now resides in NY. That’s a lot of miles if it moved under it’s own power

    0
  15. Gearheaddropping

    My family owned the polar opposite Chevelle from this year. It had NO options. I think it was a V6 with three on the tree. It didn’t even have rain gutters let alone a radio, AC, PS, PB, etc.

    I remember sitting in one of these Laguna’s with the captains chairs with the at the Marty Feldman Chevy thinking “my dad is going to get the coolest car ever”. When we picked up the car a week later, boy was I wrong. It didn’t even have a 16th of a tank of gas in it and barely made it to the station a 1/4 mile down the road. My dad had a pocket transistor radio he let slide around on the dash for tunes. It was grasshopper green with a green vinyl interior.

    3+
  16. Rock On

    1974 would have came with a straight six.

    2+
  17. mike D

    if you click on the ” other items” he lists some of his other cars, most have pretty well had it, he didn’t know if the Cutlass he has is a 74 or a 75, ( it is a 75) if he kept the grass trimmed around the vehicles, maybe the town wouldn’t have noticed they would be appealing if they were in better shape trouble is even if someone went thru all the ” bother” of bringing them up to snuff , they’d still be an ordinary car from the 70s , might be nostalgic for some, but, you wouldn’t even come close to getting your money back

    0
  18. Rustytech

    I always liked the 73 Chevelle SS, I had a 454 ci. In the early 80’s, it didn’t have the go of the 1970, but was plenty capable. I never did like the Laguna front ent treatment, and this turd? Maybe $800 if the drive line is good.

    0
  19. Paul Tavernier

    Most people don’t know that the Laguna type S3 also came equipped with a Muncie M22 Rockcrusher 4 speed. And if you have priced one of those lately if can find one you would understand the value and a big block V-8 is a big block V-8 that always has potential. I had one second owner and they were quite unique.

    0
  20. lawrence

    Yep…a 1969 Caprice with a 396 2 barrel motor had more horse power than the later 454’s….ask me how I know…..

    1+
  21. JagManBill

    My 74 Laguna story – I was working at my Dad’s station in the summer of 75 when one of these came in for brake work. Well, I assumed it needed brake work when it slammed into the back of my 60 T-Bird I had just finished washing. If your familiar with the Square-birds, they have huge bumper bullets on the center rear. This guy hit my car hard enough his 5 mph bumper got out of the way and let both of those rear BB’s go straight through the grill, a/c condenser and radiator. Damage to the Bird? it flattened the tip of one of the BB’s about 1/4 of an inch and dented (not broke) the pot-metal corner piece trim around the rear tail light.

    POJ….

    1+
  22. Tyler

    Call me crazy, but I have always liked the 74 & 75 Laguna S3’s. Sure this one isn’t in the best of shape, & may be an overpriced parts car at best, but I don’t understand the hate.

    1+
  23. JagManBill

    I will note, given the potential from that engine, with just a lil bit of effort you could be at 350-400hp and it still be fairly “stock”. Wouldn’t be a sleeper by any means, but it would sure run like what it looks like it should…

    1+
    • whmracer99

      Agree BUT in this day of 400hp crate small blocks why would you spend the time and money. This car obviously has some interest as it’s over $5200 this morning.

      0
      • Mike

        It’s still at 4200 when I looked. I’ll stick with my 69 and 70. I had a 73 but not much to talk about

        0

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