1974 Chevy Chevelle Laguna S3: Last of the 454s

laguna1

Generally speaking, it’s hard to find many winners in the domestic muscle car scene of the early ’70s. However, if there was something resembling a swan song, this 1974 Chevrolet Chevelle Laguna S3 might be it – you can find this one here on eBay for $4,995. Though not the most attractive car on the road, the Laguna S3 was available with the 454 four-barrel V8 that packed 230 bhp, a respectable number for the era. Interestingly, production numbers are hard to verify but some web forums have pegged the S3 cars equipped with the 454 at a fairly low volume. While it doesn’t translate to high values, this could be a decent driver given the extra power on tap and special features of the S3 package: firmer suspension, front sway bar, wider tires and of course, the must-have swivel bucket seats. This car looks fairly honest but the mice have chewed up the wiring, so you’ll have at least a few hours of work ahead of you to get it running – is it worth restoring this last example of a then-dying breed?

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Comments

  1. Smitty

    At this point, everything that can be fixed/updated to a 454 can be fixed. You can build this car as something reliable or to burn up the quarter miles. It’d be relatively easy to bring this car up to what it could’ve had if it wasn’t a product of 1974.

  2. krash

    Swivel buckets.
    …perfect for making that hasty emergency tuck-and-roll exit (just in case someone I know sees me behind the wheel of this baby}

  3. SoCal Car Guy

    Appears to be a fairly solid and intact car and could be a reasonable way to get a big-block muscle (well, sorta) car. Optioned as it is it’s one of the most desirable of the “colonnade” (1973-77) GM intermediates.

    I reconstructed a ’73 El Camino (basically same everything, on the longer wheelbase four-door sedan and wagon chassis) and found there’s a lot more parts available than I would’ve thought. High quality, exact duplicate wiring harnesses are available from M& H Electric in Santa Fe Springs CA; Good quality replacement weatherstrip and almost every trim piece for the interior can be obtained from companies like Year One, and just about everything for the chassis, steering and brakes — stock and upgraded — is readily available. The “smog” 454 will respond very well to even minor tuning. Upgrades in rear end gearing and to a wide-ratio automatic overdrive, while expensive, really wake up these thing AND improve fuel economy at the same time. (The 200-4R is an almost direct replacement for a Turbo 350, ditto for a 700-R4 in place of a Turbo 400. Changing the 2.73:1 ring & pinion that came in most of these for a 3.73:1 gear set , combined with the wide-ratio automatic overdrive will lop a couple second off 0-60 times and return up to 50% better gas mileage.) These cars had mammoth wheelwells and, without getting stupid, can accept a lot larger tires and wheels. Example: my Camino came with 14 x 6 SS wheels and (in metric equivalents) 225/75-14 tires. It’s not fitted with 15 x 8 Corvette rally wheels from a ’70s Corvette, with 235/60 and 275/6015, with absolutely no interference or rubbing, anywhere.

    I see a lot of potential under the grunge. This tired old car could make a great project.

    Like 2
  4. A.J.

    I have always liked these. This is short money compared to the earlier generation but of course they don’t trade in the same space. If this was a 4 gear I would be all over it.

  5. grant

    Love it. Had a 73 for a short time in the early 90s. Beer bottle brown with a white stripe. Hadn’t ever seen swivel buckets before that car. My girl saw the hole in the floor and wouldn’t ride in it. Every last window on it rusty n leaky….

    Like 1
  6. Charles

    Not for me, however I would love to see the right person restore this car. One can do a lot with a 454.

  7. Rich

    That front shot makes it look rather too much like a Mustang II.

  8. Rancho Bella

    At this point beautiful GM designs had resigned…………………….gwad

  9. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Dale Jr. is a big fan of this body style:
    “The Laguna is one of my favorites because of its place in the history of NASCAR,” Earnhardt said. “I thought it was a really sexy-looking car, and it looked amazing on the race track.

    “It has a lot of character lines that to me are appealing. I’ll probably always have that car.”

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BzCADS_IMAArJww.jpg

  10. don

    these were great cars in the day! rare with swivel buckets and a/c, not sure about the asking price since it does not run, and looks a little on the rough side, and hard to find a shipper that will take a big non-runner.

  11. Rick

    Had a ’76 version of this, even right down to the color scheme. The nose had gotten more “Camaro” like at that point, but the interior was almost identical. Loved the swivel buckets.. great for chatting in the parking lot. But alas.. like this one, died of terminal cancer. That car was a beast, even for a stock 350… nothing stopped it. Had many a fond memory in that car..

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