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Desert Project: 1974 Chevrolet Laguna S-3

For 1974-76, the Laguna S-3 became the successor to the Chevelle Super Sport. Times had changed, and raw power was being phased out in favor of style and sporty looks. You could still get a 454 cubic inch big-block V8 in these cars, but they had been neutered compared to just a few years earlier. This 1974 Laguna S-3 is described as a non-running project that awaits a restoration. But would the cost of getting there exceed any future value? Located in Henderson, Nevada, this Chevy is available here on craigslist for a realistic $2,500. Thanks to Eagle Eye Pat L. for another tip from yesteryear!

The GM mid-size cars got redesigned in 1973 and the automobiles went with what was called Colonnade styling which eliminated pillarless hardtops. In the Chevy camp, the Malibu was dropped back a notch and the Laguna appeared as the new top-line series, with coupes, sedans, and station wagons (no more convertibles). All Lagunas wore urethane front ends which set them apart visually from other Chevelles. A year later, the S-3 debuted retaining the urethane front end from 1973, but with the impact protection increased from 2.5 to 5 mph.

Standard equipment in the S-3 included swivel front bucket seats, a console, a vinyl roof with opera-type vertical rear quarter windows, an upgraded handling package, and a six-dial instrument cluster with a 4-spoke sport steering wheel. Nearly 15,800 copies were built in 1974, the highest of the S-3 three model years but far below the kind of numbers the Super Sport used to account for. The seller doesn’t go into much detail on this car, like how long has it been sitting and what might it need to get going again.

Engine choices ranged from a variety of 350, 400, and 454 V8s. The seller doesn’t mention which engine is in this car, but the 350 was the most often-selected motor at a rather anemic 145 hp as rated in those days (2-barrel carburetor). A Turbo-Hydramatic was standard in these autos (including the seller’s) and the only way to get a 4-speed was to order the 454. Since this Laguna is in a dry part of the country, perhaps Mother Nature has been kind to the body. The seller says the trunk, floors, and frame are in good shape, but the swivel buckets seats will need to be redone.


  1. Cadmanls Member

    Always liked this ugly duckling. Drop a crate 350 in and update the tranny. Leave the dash cover, fix up the interior and get to the exterior later.

    Like 14
  2. Scott D.

    Did not last long at that great price. No longer available.

    Like 9
  3. Rw

    Look like somebody might have already done that, looks later model engine with center bolt valve covers.

    Like 9
    • timothy r herrod

      I was thinking those valve covers looked like they belonged to a later motor also

      Like 4
  4. Evan

    It was a couple miles from me, but as noted it’s already gone. Saved me the temptation.

    Like 7
  5. Vance

    I was 11 in 1974 and I always liked these, it has Mustang- like front end. Looked best in a solid color, one year had the round 6 tailight set up which looked nice . Priced right, it’s no wonder it went so fast.

    Like 5
    • Allen L

      In the Collonade years, starting in 1973, the Chevelle only had four round tail lights. 1974, as shown here, the bread loaf shape. My 1975 had large rectangular lights. 1976 onwards, narrower, rectangular lights.
      None had six circular lights.
      Six lights, in various shapes, only occurred on full size Chevys.

      Like 2

    it’ll probably resurface on Ebay at a much higher price.

    Like 5
  7. Al camino

    Gm ruined Chevelles and caminos in 73,I had a 70 Chevelle 454 when these came out,I couldn’t believe they ruined one of my favorite cars after all those years

    Like 2
  8. Allen L

    The impetuous for the S3 was NASCAR.
    For 1974 it added the small slit side Windows, which no 1973 Chevelle had, to improve aerodynamics.
    In 1975 the S3 added the wedge front end, and that proved to make the S3 a big winner in NASCAR. Like the Cale Yarborough, Junior Johnson fielded Holly Farms S3.

    Like 5
    • Big C

      Yep. And, every Saturday night stock car track had everyone and their brother running one of these. I think that’s why these are seldom seen.

      Like 4
      • Allen L

        That’s how my plain Jane 1975 ended up, about 15 years ago, but our local track runs Thursdays.

    • Emel

      Laguna S was so much more aerodynamic than any other car in NASCAR…..NASCAR made it the only car…that they required to have restrictor plates. Regardless, it still ran roughshod over the competition.

      The 3 years it was on the NASCAR circuit it won the Championship twice with Cale Yarborough in the drivers seat.

      Like 1
  9. Guardstang

    My wife’s first car was a hand me down 74 Malibu Classic sedan, it served her well through college but in the end the rust got it good.

    Like 1
  10. Emel

    Had a ’73 Chevelle Malibu clone of this Laguna. With the swivel buckets.
    Which I could really use today….since it’s very hard for those of us with many leg/ankle/foot sports related injuries to get out of these cars anymore.
    BRING BACK THE SWIVEL BUCKETS !!! First car I had that also had a coveted AM/FM radio. Yea for real….an AM & FM factory radio. yeah !!!

    Like 3

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