CC TV: 1974 Chevrolet Laguna Type S-3 – “Selling The Chevelle”

It’s clear by my fairly consistent COAL updates that I have no problem buying cars and figuring out storage later, but I think all of us have a list of cars we might have in that pleasant land where space and logistics were no longer obstacles to our unchecked impulses.  Lately, I’ve added another “B-Team” car to my list, the ’74 Chevy Laguna.  (By the way, Laguna fans, I’m not saying that the car itself is “B-Team,” only that it’s not a primary car on my personal list.)  It combines my love of ’70s Chevrolets with my love of dealer sales filmstrips on YouTube and collecting diecast cars.  Let’s just say it’s a good thing I don’t have to write a dating profile, because that would be a tough match.

My Laguna appreciation began innocently enough; I bought this diecast representation of one that is currently produced by Greenlight Collectibles.  I have a fairly out-of-control collection of toy cars (big surprise), and although I try to limit my purchases for the sake of not being a crazy person, that’s a relative concept.

Needless to say, I’ve been smitten by the Laguna for a few weeks now, and considering the environment (both corporate and legislative) that engendered it, I’d say that the outcome was lovely.  It’s probably my favorite example of the Colonnade, a car that many, sadly, like to malign.

My toy Laguna sent me back to YouTube to find a video that I’ve previously watched: Selling the Chevelle.  There are several YouTube channels (this one is “The Emulsion Alchemist,” probably a carburetor lover) devoted to posting restored dealer videos and filmstrips, and I can say without regret that much of my life is wasted spent listening to some hired actor pretend that he knows about Quadrajets (actually, most of these actors do a pretty good job).

Of course, the ’70s was a wild decade in fashion and taste, but this guy’s suit is probably a one out of ten in that decadent decade.

What strikes me about the Laguna is how clean the front end is for a 1974 model; I’ve long thought that the Firebird and the Corvette had the best combination of looks and barrier-whacking capability, but the Laguna might have pulled off the government directive with the most grace.  I find this treatment preferable to the NASCAR-approved shovel nose of later Lagunas.

The tail was mostly standard Chevelle, but the complementary vinyl top and stripes were surprisingly tasteful for a 1974 offering.

The vinyl top with a form of opera window does send mixed messages for a car with a performance flair, but it was the ’70s, a time where a car without an opera window was almost scandalous.

Mechanically, the Laguna came standard with radial tires and Chevy’s classic rally wheels and trim rings, along with “radial-tuned” suspension and a 350 V8.  The 400 and the 454 were optional (a four-speed was available with the 454 if one knew the secret handshake at the Chevy dealer, according to the brochure).  Oddly, the brochure also mentions that the vinyl top was only available at the beginning of the model year.  Too bad – I think it looks nice on this car.

Look at all that red.  My wife often bemoans the sea of red in the interior of our ’74 Firebird, and this Laguna is much the same.  A weird and probably-not-all-that-necessary feature of the Laguna was the “swivel bucket” front seats that swung 90 degrees toward the door when you exited the vehicle.  This is a feature that is explained in the video, should you choose to watch it.

I would buy hundreds of cars if I had the space and money, along with the budget and time for tires and batteries every 10 years, in addition to regular oil changes and brake and cooling system flushes.  I’m getting stressed out just thinking about it.  Regardless, as of today, a 1974 Laguna would be somewhere in that garage.  It’s a great-looking example of ’70s not-so excess, and I’d like to see how well that seat works.

Additional Reading: 1975 Chevrolet Laguna S-3 by JohnH875