1974 Chevrolet Chevelle
The model lineup was revised for the 1974 Chevrolet Chevelle. With the Deluxe axed, the Malibu became the base line, while the top full-line series was known as the Malibu Classic. All models were about three inches longer, due to new rear bumper designs. With the Laguna Type S-3 Colonnade Coupe becoming the sole Laguna model, the 1974 Chevelle line consisted of 12 models, down from 16 in 1973.
The 1974 Laguna was down to a single coupe
model, the Type S-3.
The decision to offer the Laguna only as a coupe reflected the popularity of the General Motors intermediate coupe styles in 1973. The majority of 1973 Lagunas sold had been coupes, and coupe styles accounted for 60 percent of all Chevelle production for the model year. This ran counter to the seers' predictions, but no one cared; two-door Chevelles and other General Motors intermediate coupes were some of America's most popular cars, with the Oldsmobile Cutlass finding an especially warm reception in showrooms.
All 1974 Chevelles had new squarish one-piece taillamps, while a stand-up hood ornament, elongated Mercedes-type grille, and specific rear panel and lamp treatment helped provide touches of elegance for the plush Malibu Classic. A new Landau Coupe version, featuring a vinyl half-roof and special exterior features, was added to the Classic roster. Both the Malibu Classic coupe and Laguna Type S-3 featured small rear coach windows. Only the base Malibu two-door continued the larger quarter glass seen on all 1973 coupes.
On the Type S-3, rally wheels, sport mirrors, and lower body striping (similar to the 1973 SS) were included in the package, as were a sport suspension and variable-ratio power steering. The Laguna's pliable front fascia was continued, but the grille texture and inboard-mounted parking lights were revised. Both front and rear bumpers were now designed to survive five-mph crash tests with minimal damage.
The Type S-3 initially was built only in Antique White with a Dark Red vinyl roof, accents, and interior, a favored combination even after other trim combinations became available. Inside the Type S-3, Monte Carlo-type instrumentation with round gauges was standard. Around January 1, 1974, a Sports Roof option, which included louvered rear-quarter coach windows and a front-half vinyl roof cover, became available for the S-3.
The Type S-3 combined the Laguna's high style
with the sportiness of the now-discontinued SS.
Then, in April, the car's base price was lowered almost $300 as the swivel bucket seats, sport mirrors, four-spoke sport steering wheel, and radial tires became optional. This move made the car more affordable for younger buyers who liked the Type S-3, but couldn't handle a pricetag in the $4,500 range.
The gas crisis may have helped Chevelles find buyers. As large and thirsty as they were, they were still somewhat more fuel efficient than the full-size 1974s. Still, skittish shoppers were taking a pass on Detroit's larger offerings and Chevelle production for 1974 was 362,483, a drop of more than 24,000 units from 1973, which saw the sales high-water mark for the third-generation Chevelles.
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