SS Successor: 1976 Chevelle Laguna S-3

The Chevelle Super Sport (SS) was replaced by the Laguna S-3 for 1974-76. With the Colonnade styling that had been adopted in 1973, these cars saw lower production than before. The fading muscle car market and higher gas prices likely contributed to that trend. The seller’s 1976 edition looks to be a very nice survivor, although we aren’t privy to any history on the car. Located in Dubuque, Iowa, this S-3 is available here on Facebook Marketplace for $9,500.

For all practical purposes, the Laguna S-3 was a Super Sport in terms of its emphasis on performance, style and comfort. While the Laguna shared the chassis and principal sheet metal with other Chevelle’s, the front clip and rear styling were all its own. Production was somewhat low at 15,792 units in ’74, 7,788 for ‘75 and 9,100 for ‘76. For each of the model years, the S-3 would use a urethane front end that was adjusted annually to adhere to increasing federal safety standards for bumpers as well as what NASCAR wanted to race. As the three model years progressed, the choices of engines would decrease. These included 350, 400 and 454 V-8’s at the start, with the 454 gone by 1976. That year, the buyer could opt for a half-vinyl roof, swiveling Strato-bucket front seats with center console and four-spoke sport steering wheel, while the rear quarter-window louvers were standard. Thanks to Wikipedia contributors for some Laguna S-3 background.

The seller’s 1976 Laguna S-3 looks to be a very clean survivor that we’re told needs “TLC.” But we don’t know if that means the buyer should baby an already great car or that it will need some work to be stellar once again. This S-3 appears to be wearing its original New Palm Green paint that shows no signs of rust or damage with the few photos we have. The contrasting white vinyl top and interior appear to be in good condition and at least one of the bucket seats still swivels.

We’re told the car has a 350 cubic inch V-8 that’s a good runner, so that should be the two-barrel version good for 145 hp to conserve gas. The Turbo Hydra-Matic three-speed automatic was the only transmission offered, so that must be what’s taking care of shifting the gears here. We don’t know the actual mileage on the car as the seller uses the 100,000-mile Marketplace filler for that number. The price is $9,500, not the $5,432 placeholder the seller also uses.

The Laguna S-3 doesn’t appear to be as valuable with collectors as almost any Chevelle SS as none of the three model years it was made are quoted as being worth more than $8-9,000. So, the seller is just past the top end of what he hopes to get. But at that price, if you’re looking for a nice way to get into collecting and car shows and have only 10 grand to spend, this one might be worth a look.

WANT ADS

WANTED 1983-1986 Pontiac Grand Prix Looking for (White) preferably Grand Prix – Bucket Seats – Console – Maroon interior – Original Contact

WANTED 1970-1976 Pontiac Trans Am Must be 4 spd. Like big block. I can fix motor or tranny. Needs to be somewhat sound other than that Contact

WANTED 1991-1992 Chevrolet Camaro z28 Looking for a 1991 or a 1992 Camaro Z 28 coupe hardtop low miles red color Contact

WANTED 1970 Dodge Super Bee 4 speed, coupe preferred but nego., 383 or 440. Willing to pick up in lower 48. Contact

WANTED 1967 Mercury cyclone convertible don’t care how bad it is but needs a good title A project Contact

Submit Your Want Ad

Comments

  1. Brick Member

    Not sure if the S-3 was an SS successor because at the time there was a Malibu SS offered right next to it in the showroom. I think it was more a Chevy version of the Pontiac Grand Am. Both were among the coolest cars of the malaise era…and much longed for by teenaged me.

    Like 22
  2. Moparman Member

    This front end improved the looks of the S-3 over the initial flat one…but I’m still quite sure about the “Laguna” name! This is a nice car, and should make the new owner happy! GLWTA!! :-)

    Like 4
  3. Rick

    That’s an optimistic price. I had one of these – white over burgundy with the swivel seats. It was a tank… but suffered from the tin worm on the rear quarters and lower doors. Had to give it up eventually when it got too bad.

    Like 2
  4. Timmyt

    I’ve seen 73s and 74s priced at 28 k none of which are matching numbers I have 2 73s I like the nose better on them mine are numbers cars but they’re so hard to find I don’t sell them another hit is non a/c car tough sell I don’t think the seller will get his price but I can see him getting about $6000 offer that was about sticker price so they are not losing value but they aren’t on the collectors list yet, very few remain due to Nascar and by 76 Nascar banned them from competition

    Like 6
    • DON

      That and Enduro racing -Lots of Collonade body GM cars met their fate that way – They were extremely tough cars on the race track !

      Like 5
    • Allen L

      They were not banned in 1976, as a matter of fact, Cale Yarborough won the 1977 Daytona 500 with one. Some teams ran the Monte Carlo, quite often on the shorter tracks, their 116 inch wheelbase giving a handling advantage over the 112 inch S-3, and the blunt nose of the Monte wasn’t at an aerodynamic disadvantage either.
      https://auto.howstuffworks.com/auto-racing/nascar/season-recaps/1970s/1977-nascar.htm

      Like 1
  5. DON

    Really nice car ,but the rear end treatment other than the paint was the same as any Malibu .The front header panel and the louvered quarter glass covers were S-3 only

    Like 3
  6. Evan

    You see, the SS has only 2 S’s. The S-3 has 3 S’s. Therefore it is 50% better :)

    Like 16
    • Will Fox

      If only more things in life could be rationalized that way…..

      Like 4
  7. OIL SLICK

    Very disappointed to see that weak 350 2bbl in there. Nice car but needs an upgrade.

    Like 4
    • Will Fox

      I thought for sure being the Laguna a 4bbl. would be standard, even in `76!

      Like 4
    • Evan

      Looking at the brochure on oldcarbrochures.com – the 350-4 was only available in CA for ’76. A 400-4 was available in ’76 in both CA and 49-state versions.

      Like 4
  8. Matt G

    Always liked the round taillights of the ’73’s. The name always makes me think of Laguna Sunrise off of Black Sabbath Vol 4, which is about the same vintage as this car if I am not mistaken.

    Like 8
  9. Vance

    I always liked the front end of these cars, but they should have kept the round lights in the rear and integrated the rear bumper some how. You don’t see many of these anymore , I agree a bigger motor may have been a good idea too.

    Like 1
  10. Chris in Pineville

    Beautiful color.

    Like 6
  11. Jeff

    LOVE these cars…Great to see more of them coming out of the wood work….Cool 70’s retro…. to all the same vanilla flavor earlier chevelles

    Like 5
  12. Jcs

    @RussDixon

    As several commenters alluded to in prior comments, 1973 was the first year for the Laguna S3, not 1974 as stated in your lead in.

    Nice looking example with what appears to be at least somewhat of a realistic ask (for a change.)

    Personally, I have always preferred the front and rear end stying of the 73s the best. The lime green over white looks killer on these in person, much better than the photographs dictate.

    Like 6
    • Jcs

      I almost forgot, the Swivel Buckets were solid and very comfortable and, no looseness. The only dowside to them is that they did not offer a reclining seatback on any of them due to the solid design.

      Like 6
  13. AW

    The 75 model (with that slope nose) didn’t debut until it was featured at the Chicago Auto Show in February 1975. By the time it debuted, the 454 wasn’t available in it, just 350s & 400s. Good looking car though. It looked fast, but it was only the fastest to the next gas station.

    Like 4
  14. Vince H

    Had a 74. Cream color with maroon vinyl landau top and maroon interior. It was a nice car but was a typical 70s car. Nothing special.

    Like 1
  15. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    If you buy it, you can hang with Dale Jr.

    Like 8
  16. John

    Does anybody else feel it’s a little questionable for somebody to list a fake price to not scare people off by reality??? It seems to me that if the seller isn’t capable of full disclosure on his asking price, what else is he not going to give full disclosure on???

    Like 1
    • Little_Cars

      @John It’s fully disclosed in the body of his Facebook listing, $9500. But you’re right–far too many listings lately have the joke 1234 or some such nonsense to get you to look at the listing. The best ones I see are “I don’t need to sell this car, just testing the waters.” Or “photos show the car before disassembly.” Bottom feeders, these FB marketplace sellers. At least in the price range I look at….

      Like 1
  17. bikefixr

    My 74 had a 454-4v and a Muncie 4sp with a 2:73 Posi. It was still a slug.

    Like 1
  18. sherwin m sieden

    the reason for $1234 or $1111 is Facebook marketplace wont allow the real price if too high from their unrealistic low values. people need to read thru the article to get the correct price. It is a problem with posting in marketplace.

  19. Thomas Brown

    A good friend of mine had an olds 442 with same color scheme and swivel buckets white interior and the olds grill looked a lot meaner stance than the other counterparts but this one is still a nice car

  20. Camaro guy

    I had one of these a 76 S3 black/burgundy stripes it also had red pinstripe tape on it never found out if that was from the factory or dealer but mine had a burgundy bench seat and a really weak 305 added a few speed parts to it and a true duel exhaust from a 73 Chevelle but it was never better than a 17 sec. car great gas mileage though sold it to buy a new 84 Monte SS great looking car for sure

    Like 1
  21. Frozenbird

    I don’t know, I have a ’74 Black/red Laguna with the 454 and a 3;73 posi and it’s a real tire burner, she really hauls. Also a properly equipped Laguna is starting to fetch some pretty big dough, try and find one. But by ’76 it seems it was more of a graphics package then a performer like the Mustang II King Cobra.

  22. Roy Blankenship

    Man, no one mentioned the lack of AC on this car. I agree the round tail lights were better looking…

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.