Swivel Seats! 1976 Chevy Laguna S3

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

This 1976 Chevrolet Laguna Type S-3 is a nicely optioned example said to be in survivor-grade condition. Listed for $7,500 somewhere in Texas, it sports a number of desirable options and the iconic sloped nose designed to enhance its wind-cheating drag coefficient. These Lagunas were configured a variety of different ways, and this one sports the optional four-barrel 400 V8 and swivel seats. Find it here on craigslist, and go here if the ad disappears. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Rocco B. for the find.

Over the first few years of production, a number of the options seen here were actually standard features on the Laguna (also known as the Colonnade Coupe). For example, the front swivel seats were standard equipment in 1974, but an available upgrade in 1976. The badging seen here was standard Laguna fare,  but the mismatched rear body panel was not. This looks to me like a replacement panel that was never painted following a light rear-end impact. Not a big deal, but it may be wise to inspect the trunk floor.

There they are: the iconic swivel seats. Does anyone know why this didn’t catch on? Seems like such a good idea, especially for a coupe. I would have loved to have something like this in my departed 1995 M3. Interestingly, I just learned that the VW Type 2 cargo vans had optional swivel seats, and I wonder if Chevy took inspiration (or creative license) from a worker vehicle to make ingress/egress into their coupes a bit easier. The interior on this example looks quite nice, and the buckets still show good bolstering.

Inside, drivers were treated to a gauge-heavy Rallye cluster. What you can’t see is the upgraded suspension, with front and rear sway bars and firmer shocks and struts. Unfortunately, by this point, the manual transmission was discontinued and the three-speed automatic was the only option. In a cruiser like this, it wouldn’t bother me a bit. If the body’s clean condition checks out and the Laguna can be made to fire up with relative ease, the asking price doesn’t seem unreasonable – especially if the seller is serious about considering best offers.

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Comments

  1. HotWheelsCalgary

    I miss my Laguna… :.. (

  2. Rock On

    I drove a 1975 Malibu Classic with swivel bucket seats. If I remember correctly you could not close the doors with them in the fully swivelled position. I very rarely used them. This is nice find with the 400 small block.

    • ACZ

      You’re right on the button with that. They would not allow the doors to close unless returned to the forward facing position.

    • Reggie Stafford

      I just bought a 1978 El Camino with the swivel seats and cannot figure out how to unlock them to swivel … do you remember how to?

      • Enesset

        Mine has a little lever at the base of the seat… I believe it’s on the door side…. I have a 1975 Chevy Laguna S3…. it’s in storage or I’d go check it

  3. Ohio Rick

    Seems to me Chrysler Corp offered swivel seats in the 50s.

    • ACZ

      I distinctly remember them on a 59 Sport Fury.

      • Beatnik Bedouin

        Yup, they ‘swing out to greet you, swing in to seat you…’

  4. Glen

    The right front fender looks like it was replaced, and the gap between the front section and the fender looks off.It also appears to have damage on the passenger door at both ends. A cracked dash, and torn drivers seat, and I just don’t like the rear bumper! I know… ” Always with the negative waves!” (Kelly’s Heroes).

  5. Christopher Wenz

    Awesome cars but the price is steeeeep.
    I see a Impala SS with a blown head gasket for $3K and by the photos looks very good. The S3 is rare though.
    All about time and money.

    • Joseph Wayne Haddock

      I had a 75 Monte Carlo Landau with swivel buckets and the 400 small block. Loved the seats. I used to pull up beside the pond swivel my drivers seat and whip out the Pocket Fisherman, courtesy of Ron Popeil i think and fish for awhile. The doors would close with the seats swiveled. Had an emergency room run with a guy at work that tore a huge hole out of his leg. Swiveled the seat, through him in the back seat with his legs on the front seat and away we went to the hospital.

      • Andy

        Did you break anything when you closed the door? I have a 73 Monte Carlo with the swivel buckets. Can’t close the doors with the buckets swiveled open (unless I want to break stuff).

  6. Angrymike

    I bought a winter beater 75 Malibu with swivel buckets and console, it was sorta beat, but I really liked that car. I ended up keeping it for 2 years till it started getting wet carpet from the holes in the floorboards. It was just a 350, but it ran damn good. One of the beaters that I wished was in better shape.

  7. Enesset

    I have an irrational relationship to the Laguna S3 because I still wanna run a transcontinental cannonball run!

    https://youtu.be/GsSW9rd322k

  8. Kevin A Russell

    Rear bumper always looked ugly in that era but the one on this car looks like it’s from some other GM car, way too much gap everywhere!

    • Enesset

      https://youtu.be/8nxt5pzbRqg
      Definitley too much rear bumper
      gap on the car in the add.

    • ACZ

      The flubber bumper fillers aren’t there.

  9. Jack M.

    Too much gap everywhere, you could be describing my last girlfriend!

  10. Carrman

    Thunderbirds had swivel seats in the 60’s.

  11. Bill

    This is the correct bumper. The problem is that the plastic filler panel that fills the gap across the rear of the car has rotted away and fallen out many years ago. Unfortunately, this was common with plastic technology of this era. This why the gap appears so large. Also the quarter end caps have not been replaced, it is simply that they are fiberglass and paint tends to leave them much more quickly than the metal around it. Nice car, but too much money.

  12. CCFisher

    When bodyside stripes were specified, the rear panel was painted to match, so the black taillight panel is correct for this car.

  13. OIL SLICK

    Why no engine pics?

  14. scottymac

    Had just gotten hired to work in Timken Roller Bearing’s steel mill, and liked the looks of these. First and only time I was ever in a Chevy dealership thinking about buying a new car. Seem to remember it was a 454. Didn’t Chevy market the 402 big block as a 400? How do you Chevy guys know which is which? The swivel seats were a one piece design, the back didn’t fold forward, seemed to me would make getting in the back harder.

    • ACZ

      The last 454 in an A body was 1975. I have one in an El Camino that I bought new. The 400 was a small block. The 402 “400” was a big block but went from about 70 to 72.

  15. K5ING

    My very first brand new car was a 1975 Laguna Type S3. I loved those swivel bucket seats and the full round gauge cluster (the regular Malibu/Chevelle had a rectangular speedo and lights) from the Monte Carlo. IIRC, I was able to close the door fine with it turned 90 degrees.

  16. Jeff Adema

    Love these cars. The rear taillight panel was painted from the factory to match side stripe. See my original 76 Laguna 21,000 original miles…

    1
    • moparman

      Beautiful car, Jeff! It took a while for me to get accustomed to the colonades, and I liked the look of these much better than the first generation. 🙂

    • Roy Galway

      Thats a nice car Jeff. Im sure Ive seen it elsewhere on the internet. Ive recently acquired a highly original lime green 30k miler with the 400ci engine. I happen to live in England and the car was imported 10 years ago. By coincidence I owned a 1960 Chrysler 300F, which also had swivel seats.

  17. db9

    Price was just lowered to $6,500. Must be very interested in selling. Could be a good deal for the right buyer.

  18. Rix86SS

    I had a74 Laguna back in the early 80s white with maroon interior small block 400 ran like a bear wish I still had that old girl I think 7,500 is a little much for this one I’m thinking more around the lines of 5,000 mite have better luck

  19. Pete

    Them swivel bucket seats aren’t as rare as you would think. I have seen them in all manner of 70″s GM products including vans. It was a great option for disabled people who had difficulty getting in and out of cars.

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