Two Year Restoration: 1975 Chevrolet Chevelle Laguna S3

This 1975 Chevrolet Chevelle Laguna is a desirable Type S3 model, and the seller has just performed what he claims is a two-year frame-on restoration. This is an interesting choice in vehicle to perform an extensive refresh on, as it is a collectible but certainly not the likes of a limited production Camaro or Corvette. It has a smaller market of potential buyers, but those that are looking for one likely rarely find one this nice up for grabs. The Laguna has all the desirable checkboxes checked in terms of features, from swivel seats and a Hurst shifter to a rebuilt 400 small-block V8 paired to a rare manual transmission! The seller is listing it for sale in hopes of buying a new project he’d rather give his garage space to. Find the Laguna here on eBay with bids to $15,800 and no reserve. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Tommy T-Tops for the find.

I have always been mildly terrified of going whole-hog on one car and restoring it back to like-new condition for fear of two things: I end up not liking the car once it’s done, or I find a more tempting project immediately after completion. I’m not sure how deep the seller got into this car, but it sounds like he started with a solid example that didn’t require a ton of rust repair, which makes for a less risky venture. Still, the interior was largely restored and the whole car repainted, with the seller opting to keep the Laguna in its original color of orange but deviate from the factory color wheel with a two-stage respray in a Nissan factory color. Of course, we all know how awesome swivel seats are, and they are in mint condition here courtesy of new seat covers.

I always forget how the rear end of a Laguna could be confused with an import if you looked too fast, what with those narrow taillights and the contrasting panel that houses them. The Laguna’s design was actually brilliant in a way for incorporating smaller chrome bumpers that helped to reduce the visual impact the increasingly large appendages had on every make and model of car. The “aero”-inspired nose was distinctive if nothing else, but you also barely notice how much the edge of the snout extends past the edge of the fenders. Regardless, the seller is quick to point out that the paintwork is very nice but by no means Concours-spec, which will make it a car you can enjoy driving and showing without the same fear that accompanies a using pristine, frame-off restoration project. The original emblems are a nice touch.

The engine bay is extremely clean, and while the 400 isn’t the most exotic powerplant you can ask for, the manual gearbox certainly makes it more interesting. The seller rattles off a long list of improvements, including new aluminum 202/160 heads; new Comp cam; new Edelbrock intake and 650 carburetor with electric choke; new bell housing, flywheel, 11″ clutch, rebuilt B/W Super T-10 with a Hurst shifter; new aluminum dual exhaust w/stock mufflers; and a rebuilt 10-bolt rear w/Yukon 3:42 gears and positraction. There’s more, and the listing paints a picture of a well-executed refresh of an interesting car that will always draw a crowd. What do you think is a fair final bid price for a restored Laguna S3 like this?


WANTED 1960-1965 Ford Ranchero Looking for period-correct cap or topper. Protect-O-Plate was the main brand, but open to any brand Contact

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WANTED 1968-1972 Buick Sklyark, etc. Looking for a grandma/grandpa 1968-1972 2 door Buick Skylark/Special/LeSabre, V8, original. (No GS) Contact

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  1. XMA0891

    A friend had one of these – In a heap in his back yard – “This” was his dream for it – All the time and talent to do it too… I never saw the allure – Looking on this one however…

    Like 11
  2. greg

    So restoration means not the original color, engine mods, upgraded diff? But then a coupe now means a four door so what do I know. Nice car but not for me.

    Like 4
  3. Cadmanls Member

    Probably a fun driver, suspension was upgraded in these I believe. Not a big fan but decent looking car and 80’s are getting hot

    Like 8
  4. Cadmanls Member

    Well almost 80’s seats were cool.

    Like 4
  5. Mike D

    Always liked these. Is that 4-speed factory?

    Like 7
    • jerry z

      Asking the same question with all the welding on the 4 speed hump. Beautiful car especially the color.

      Like 8
      • gbvette62

        No. Chevelle’s were not offered with a 4 speed in 75.

        The base 6 cylinder and the 350 came with a column shift 3 speed manual standard, and the Turbo-Hydro was optional. The 400 small block and 454 were only available with the Turbo-Hydro.

        A 4 speed was last available in the Chevelle line in 74, but only with the 454. It was dropped for 75, 76 & 77, then returned as an option on the redesigned 78 Malibu’s.

        Like 11
      • Rj

        Maybe he should have filled the opening in the “tunnel” with chicken wire and bondo then there wouldn’t be all that welding.

  6. JCA

    This guy nailed it pretty well. The color, the wheels, interior, 400, 4 speed…I wouldn’t change a thing. Hope he gets $20k…

    Like 22
  7. nlpnt

    All ’74-76 Lagunas were S-3 coupes. The only year there was a full line of Lagunas (coupe, sedan, wagon) was 1973 and for ’74 the Malibu Classic replaced the “mainstream” Lagunas. (Fun fact; in ’73 you could get both a Laguna and a Malibu wagon with or without woodgrain, usually it was reserved for and in those years mandatory with the top trim level). For ’75 the nose was redesigned to the one seen here that I suspect was designed with the NASCAR superspeedway as much as sales appeal in mind.

    Like 7
  8. Don Page

    VIN indicates it originally came with a 350 2 barrel California engine and built in Fremont, CA.

    Like 10
  9. bikefixr

    I had a ’74 w/454, 4sp and posi rear. It was a blast. But wow, handled like crap until I dropped it 2″, stiffer springs on all 4, Koni’s, fat sway bars and a steering damper stolen off a ’73 Monte Carlo. Then it did quite well for a big car.

    Like 2

    Restomod not restoration. Still a real nice car. Don’t see them anymore.

    Like 3
  11. Matt in Flint

    Say what you want about it, but I absolutely love it!!!!

    Like 7
  12. Rj

    I like it including the Nissan color. Nice restoration to a beautiful driver. Swapping in a warmed small block 400 is very cool, and the Super T-10 cranks up the level of enjoyment. This will never be a 70 Chevelle but the changes he made makes it a heck of a lot nicer. Everyone complains about cars from the emissions era including me. However when someone restores one to a nicer car to own and drive you won’t find me standing on the side of the road with the Deaks crying about it.

    Like 7
  13. Rj

    I like it …. including the Nissan color. Nice restoration to a beautiful driver. Swapping in a restored, warmed up small block 400 is a very good idea to go along with the Super T-10 that cranks up the level of enjoyment. This will never be a 70 Chevelle but the changes he made during the restoration makes this a heck of a lot nicer S3. Everyone complains about slugs from the emissions era including me. When someone restores one to a nicer car to own and drive you won’t find me standing on the side of the road with the Deaks crying about it.

  14. Sean

    This is nice, and it was restored in a way that will help this former smog dog sell.

    Like 1
  15. Novaman

    I love it. My favorite years of the Chevelle/ Malibu 1973-1977. Not a lot of people share my opinion on that I know . Surprised it’s up to 17000 . Hope it goes to a good home

    Like 4
    • Kirk K

      I’m with you on that novaman 73-77 chevelles +cutlass +lemans are what me and my friends came of age learning how drive and be cool . Peeps are always saying no power no handling and they may be right stock brand new but for kids picking them up for next to nothing and hauling out the smogged small 8 it came with and dropping in 455s and late 60s early 70s big hp motors out of usually the biggest boat or station wagon we could find that was rotted with sometimes barely any miles on them for next to nothing sometimes free just to get it out of someone’s yard that was tired of watching it rust away and put some 10 inch cragers or turbines and some sticky 60 on the back + some 235 70s on the front. Get it sitting low and stiff and these cars will handle an go with the best of them provided you know how to drive a big heavy car like these with alot of power on tap . You gotta throw these big cars into the turns looking out the side window and power your way out of it. Also these years of GMs tough tough cars .just like in the movies you could drive these things over curbs down in the ditch and back up again and barely feel it. I know I lost a couple in some hairpins and flew off the road facing backwards and didn’t hurt a thing get a buddy and a rope to put it back on the pavement and good to go.they had nice big frame rails and could take alot of punishment. You couldn’t roll a car.built the last 20-30 year into a ditch a 10mph without it crumpling and twisting like a pretzel. Everyone’s always down on the 70s cars but my experience with them was great. Beautiful ride comfortable tough and with a little help fast and fun. Best cars ever. Someone 10 years older probably says 60s rule and someone 10 years younger probably thinks 80s cars were all that .. God help em .. still to this day if I see a 73 chevelle that’s rollin on the right wheels and tires it is the only real car I see. Nothing else looks half as cool . Nostalgia? Nah I’m sure they’re wicked cool without a doubt I was thinking I’ to write a book about it… Wait .. I think I just did . Sorry I get all excited just thinking about the vroom Vroom VROOM

      Like 1
    • DON

      I agree with you !

      Like 1
  16. Frank

    Nice car and better for the Senior Citizen that has trouble climbing out of his Corvette.

    Like 2
  17. Larry D

    I would have sworn I submitted this car. Hmmmmmm……….odd.

    Like 2
  18. t-bone BOB

    Located in:
    Stratford, Connecticut

  19. ADM

    Over 20K, with five days to go. Not surprised. A lot of hard work and skill went into this restoration. 30K final?

    • Larry D

      Nah I can’t imagine 30k for a car with a color change and especially for NOT being a big block.

      • ADM

        $28,101. Close enough!

        Like 1
  20. Larry D

    But with it being on ebay, the next step is to see if the buyer really pays up. So many don’t.

    Like 1
    • ADM

      Goes without sayin’.

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