Pampered Survivor: 1976 Chevrolet Laguna S3

When I was in junior high, there was a high school kid who drove a Laguna S3 very similar to this one. If my memory serves me right, his was white with a maroon stripe instead of the black stripe. Even then, I knew that his car was different than the average run-of-the-mill Chevelle. His was nice but certainly not as nice as this one found here on eBay.

The seller describes this Laguna as a “pampered survivor” and from the looks of it, that seems to be true. One look at that interior and right away you can tell that this one is a unique time capsule. The listing says that it’s “mostly original”, but hardly looks like it even has the 49,440 miles that are on it. I’d say that pampered is a pretty good description.

The small block 350 maintains all the original parts and looks clean enough to eat off of. The 145 horsepower V8 would barely be able to get this nearly 4,000-pound hulk out of its own way, but that really doesn’t matter with such a nice original car. Thankfully, there are plenty of pictures in the listing to show just how nice this one really is.

Nearly 110,000 Lagunas were built from 1973 to 1976. They may not have been much for than just a dressed up Malibu, but they are unique in that roughly 1 out of every 15 carried the Laguna S3 badges. Out of the nearly 110,000 that were built, how many would be in this nice of shape? And with a current bid just over $8,000, what might this pampered survivor end up going for?

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  1. DayDreamBeliever Member

    Now hold on here…

    Yes, this car looks VERY NICE, in particular on the outside.
    Someone put a ton of work into it. NOT a “Survivor”, this car has been worked, and with a lot of effort and time. The trunk lid certainly does not fit right on the right rear corner, I see overspray in several areas and masking evidence too. And what’s up with those gauge lenses in the dash.

    But…. Just a look at the VIN plate would make me run away.

    • Enesset

      Help me on the vin plate…

      1 = Chevy
      E = Laguna S3
      37 = 2-door coupe

      V = engine code mine is U for 400 CID 2-barrel not sure what V is

      6 = 1976

      I = ? Mine is R for Arlington Tx

      Then the last six digits start with a “4” for all Chevelles.

      • Enesset

        V is the 1976 350 CID 140 HP?

        The manufacture location should be

        B Baltimore
        K Leeds
        R Arlington
        Z Fremont

        I guess that digit is an L so it was made in Leeds (Kansas City area)? I’m not savvy on ’76 S3’s is that odd?

      • ACZ

        1 is Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. V is a 145 hp. 350

  2. Rick

    I have to agree. I have a soft spot for these – had one, a ’76, in white and maroon with the swivel buckets and slightly different options. I don’t recall it having a blacked out rear fascia. And as a kid, I didn’t consider it underpowered. It died from terminal cancer starting in the rear wells. This one, too, is suffering from the same malady based on the peeling paint in some of the areas and the leading edge of the vinyl roof. Shame..

  3. Superdessucke

    A cool teenager who lived near me in the late ’70s had one of these in dark orange, and he put those factory Cragar-style 1970-74 Z/28 rims on it with wide RWL tires. It looked awesome. Not sure I’d pay 10 grand for one but these are pretty neat.

  4. Keefer Zeller

    Just what are “power wipers”? And since when did back-up lights and seat belts become an option? LOL

  5. D Bohm

    Reminds me of a girl I dated in high school. A knock out, but once her makeup came off, omg. Her name was IRMA.

  6. Bob C.

    Very nice 1970s example. As for the 145 SAE net horsepower rating, it isn’t as bad as it sounds. If you went back to the old gross measures, it would be around 225, give or take.

  7. Vance

    The front looks so nice with the integrated bumper and front end treatment. Then you get to the back end and Ugh. That rear bumper looks horrible, it ruins the looks of the entire car. I know they had to have them, but GM should have put more effort into the design. It really ruins the whole car.

    • David

      I could not agree with you more. Take a look at the back end of the 1973 Chevelle. Of all the models and years it’s looks the very best. The tail lights of the corvette were used in 1973.

  8. Timmy

    I prefer the 73s I have two of them I think they have much more appealing facia and tail lights,one is fitted with a 510 horse 350 and an overdrive

  9. Timmy

    1973 Laguna

    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      Does your VIN plate look like the one in this auction?

      Edit: Note to everyone, the site cropped the photo left to right in the comments page, but if you click on the picture, it enlarges and you can see the whole thing,

      • Timmy

        I think mine is 1AE37

      • Timmy

        1E37K3R449199 I just looked

      • 72 Monte Carlo

        DDB, what is the issue being highlighted with the VIN plate?

      • DayDreamBeliever Member

        Re: The VIN Plate…
        I guess the fact that the numbers don’t all line up is not totally unusual, as in that means it is a fake? And the different fonts as well?
        OK, I found a photo of another one online which also had misaligned digits.
        But this gets back to the “Survivor” description… I can’t be the only reader who looks at that plate and views it as having been painted over, with the black on top of a significant amount of surface rust. So easy to see the tape line, and the plate above the paint line is not very clean. So, to mask and paint there, the windshield would have to be out, yes? Click on the photo I put in my comment above, and you’ll see the whole plate.

        My reaction to this is, I guess, coming from the opinion that the car is not being honestly represented. Someone put a TON of work into this car, and it is far from original. Whether it is worth the ask is not the subject of my comments. Dang, I am grumpy today! ;-)

  10. Joe Mac

    Would have been so much cooler with buckets and console shift. Column shift kills anything trying to be sporty IMO. Reserve not met @ $8100? GLWS.

    • JoeNYWF64

      Oddly, even the T/A from ’69 thru ’76 came with std column shift when u got the automatic & didn’t order the optional console – that combo was rarely seen, though. Not sure about Z28’s.

  11. Will Fox

    Alot of comments on this one seem to leave us all suspect as to how much of a “survivor” this Laguna is, myself included. Evidence of overspray, questionable gage facings, and IMHO unusually “low” mileage which I suspect is a rolled-back odo. Looks like a 350 under the hood, but definitely not the 400. And weren’t buckets standard on the Lagunas (hence the sport package)? I don’t recall ever seeing one with a bench. $8100. and reserve not met yet? Good luck to the suc–er, I mean buyer on this. He should have dirt on his jeans from falling off the turnip wagon.

    • enesset

      Will, I’m curious where you guys are seeing overspray, are you talking about in the trunk? Additionally, as I noted above the vin indicates a 350 NOT a 400 so not sure on your comment there either.

      I’m surprised this car is getting flamed so hard. I won’t deny it looks suspiciously clean for so old, no doubt but is there anyway this car isn’t worth $8,100?

      I own 2 1975 Laguna S3’s and my red one needs to get sold and this one is nicer than mine so I hope this white one brings stronger money and frankly I think its worth more…….

    • Dan Peters

      It’s great to see an article on this Laguna S3, I own two 76 Laguna S3 cars. In looking at the pictures of this white one it has for sure been painted. The stripe that meets the front impact strip is way too thick. Same for the rear quarter stripe. Here is a great article on an original paint 76 from Hemmings.

  12. Tom

    Great cars, ’73 is my favorite year…I miss mine :(

    • W9BAG Member

      The ’73 is the one I remember. My friend, Paul, had a very well heeled Grandma that bought him one like this one, straight off the showroom floor. Swivel seats are SO cool !

      • Tom

        I love those swivel seats too, but for comfort, I’ll take the Grand Am buckets with recline and lumbar support!

  13. Lance Platt

    The Chevelle appears to be in excellent cosmetic condition for a 43 year old car. My concerns are that it lacks bucket seats to look sporty on the inside and has an engine that produces less horsepower than all my recent 4 cyclinder vehicles. This is a tape stripe muscle car that true collectors won’t covet in the future.

  14. TominPS

    The gauges have what looks to be mold, and check out the sagging ceiling and right rear door panel. Look at the wrinkled plate around the AC controls. I suspect lots of moisture got inside at some point. Pampered?! There’s more to this story than the breathless dealer description.

  15. Camaro guy

    I had one of these a 76. S3 black/ maroon stripe plus it had extra factory ( I think) pinstriping was a beautiful car except for the rear bumper mine was bench seat I put a B&M shifter on the floor , headers, dual exhaust and trans x- member from a 73 car. Edelbrock intake, Holley carb ,didn’t help the weak 305 much but it sounded good and got 28/29 mpg on the Hy 2.73 rear gear sure wasn’t fast (17.5 sec 1/4) but a great highway cruiser

  16. James

    So were there 110,000 Lagunas built, or 110,000 Laguna S3s? I’m unclear of the production number of the S3. I know where 5 of these are. If they’re rare, I’ll go corner the market! :)

    • Dan Peters

      The Laguna was a 73 only model, production was 42,941. In 1974 it was changed to the Laguna Type S3 with something like 21,902 made. 1975 and 1976 went to the slope nose and different paint scheme. Production was 7788 for 1975 and 9100 for 1976.

  17. jeff

    Not sure on mileage unless it comes with documentation… The rear panel would be the color of the stripe if it came with a stripe. Otherwise it would be the color of the car. The stripe on this car is not correct. Please see mine original documented 21,000 miles.

  18. MikeK

    I don’t remember the year now, but I passed on one of these once, only because it had a burnt valve. 454 with those cool swivel buckets. Which I had bought it now.

  19. Neil Achatz


    Had one of these as a demo when I was in management at a Chevrolet dealer. it was a 454 white & burgandy. The swivel buckets looked neat but in my opinion were the most uncomfortable seats I ever sat in on a long trip.This white w/black strips has been reworked. The trunk does not fit properly, The stripes are terrible in my opinion, it has a after market fuel filter which was never factory used. The air cleaner ducting is missing. So what else is the owner not stating?? I’m passing on this one. Good luck to the new owner.

    • Jeff

      This is what it should look like under the hood of a survivor low mileage. Pic of mine. Though this one is a good start from what I’ve seen of basket cases go for… Lot of good options…

  20. Comet

    When did Chevrolet begin painting engines blue?

  21. Jeff

    It was 1977

  22. Timmy

    Very fun to drive

  23. lonnie93041

    I remember a burgundy one with the 454 at the local Chevy dealer when I was in hs. I don’t remember exactly what year the car was (I want to say 1975) but I remember daydreaming about owning that car for months.

  24. Joe Mac

    This car is now at $9400 with only a few hours left. Impressive. Good job by the seller.

    • enesset

      So many commenters have “flamed” this car and frankly it surprises me. With how prices have gotten with classic american “muscle” I’m frankly surprised this isn’t a $11k or $12k car. In California it woudn’t fly since it is not a “smog exempt” car but if it were a 1975 I’d think surely it would command more.

      Will be interesting to see how it ends. I’m personally curious because I own 2 1975 Laguna S3’s and I would like to sell my red one and frankly its not as nice as this white one.

    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      Finished at that amount.

      enesset, I don’t think I have “flamed” the car. But I have to call it like I see it, and there are fairly obvious (to me) indicators that the car is pretty far from being original. I can very well recognize the kind of work that it represents, however, and I can’t quibble at all about the price just paid. The seller may have only made $0.50/hour on all the labor put in here.

      One of my friends had a Laguna S3, unfortunately with a replacement motor because her brother forgot to tighten the drain plug, or maybe stripped it out, and the motor ran out of oil on an interstate highway a long distance from home. Her car had the swivel buckets, white with a white interior. It was nice.

  25. P.J. Pannesco

    My 1975 Laguna S-3 is the first new car I ever bought. 39,00 original miles..completely stock, except for tires, muffler, hoses/belts. Love the car. Just put $ 1200 worth of red stripe Firestone Wide Ovals on it last year. Bench seat, no air, rides like a baby carriage. Never see another one when I go to car shows….not worth much in $$$, but the sentimental value of owning it for 44 years,…? I’ve had wives and girls friends come and go….still have the S-3.

    • Jeff

      Let’s see a pic… great story


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