My younger son's female friend, Anne, confided in him recently that she is despondent that a boy she loves will never love her back. He told my wife and I about this the other night and while it would have been easy to scoff at or at worst mock what she's going through, I instead was whisked back in time to that period of seemingly endless teenage/young adulthood angst. God almighty did that suck.
If I could tell her anything it's that through the passage of time, I mean a vast swath of time that no 17 or 18 year old can evenly possibly grasp at their ages, she'll come to see that not only is this boy not worth her time but she'll wonder what it was she saw in him in the first place. Hopefully. There's a couple of girls I knew before I met my wife that I feel that way about now. I have those same feelings for today's subject car, Chevrolet's Chevelle Laguna S-3. This car held such a lofty perch in my life that I named a cat after it and pined so forcibly for one that I had told my wife that if I ever came across one in half way decent condition I would buy it without consulting with her about it. All these years later I'm like, the hell did I see in this thing?
Now I look at this car, don't think I've ever seen a black Laguna before, and I really have to wonder what it was I saw in any Laguna in the first place. That goofy angled plastic nose - what is that? The rear bumper also looks like what it is - just bolted on. This one for sale was priced around $10,000 which would seem about right for any 1976 Chevelle coupe or wagon in this shape but I would pass on it if I was in the market. No doubt the body parts that make it a Laguna would be real hard to get. And I just don't think it's as good looking as I remember either. I just as soon forget about ever owning a Laguna S-3.
What is a Chevelle Laguna S-3 anyway? For starters, what's a Chevelle? Between 1964 and 1977, all mid size Chevrolets were "Chevelles". At the time, Chevrolet was so big that it was almost like it was a sub company within GM let alone a brand on the GM "ladder". Chevelle was intended to be a second division akin to what LaSalle was to Cadillac back in the 1930's. A second division with a name that is similar yet very different to the big brand? Sure. Why not. Sort of makes sense given Chevelles were really different cars than the big cars Chevrolet was selling.
There were usually three Chevelle models spread across the usual vehicle types of two and four door sedans and a wagon. A base model, an upmarket luxury model and a top drawer "sport" model that was a combination of the luxury model and a sporty motif. That sport model was the Super Sport or "SS" model; today Chevelle SS' are perhaps the most sought after and valuable of all muscle cars.
In the early 1970's, insurance company surcharges on anything they considered a performance car crushed sales of "muscle cars". Just as well. Government mandated emissions regulations were already impeding real world vehicle performance. Motor Trend said as much in their road test of a 1973 Laguna noting that the performance of the Chevrolet 350 V-8 was just "enough". Cars couldn't do what they once could but that didn't stop Chevrolet from selling a car that looked like it could. The Laguna "S-3" replacing the Chevelle SS in the lineup; the "-3" a way of Chevrolet attempting to get one by the insurance companies. Didn't matter much, though. Muscle car sales were in the dumpster. The first gas crisis closed the lid on that dumpster.
Hang in there, Anne. It gets better. Just give it time. Trust me.