The 1973 model year brought big changes to GM’s sprawling lineup of mid-size coupes, sedan, and station wagons (not convertibles — they were axed). At Chevrolet, a new nameplate, Laguna, appeared as a sporty Chevelle variant. The Laguna got its own contemporary front-end design with a body-colored urethane nose cone in place of the chrome battering-ram bumpers found on lesser Chevelles. The model even was available in station-wagon form as the plain-sided Laguna and the woodgrained Laguna Estate, the latter standing at the top of the midsize Chevy wagon hierarchy. The Laguna wagons were dropped after one year, and given the abysmal build quality of this generation of GM intermediates plus the low survival rate of wagons in general, a Laguna wagon is a rare sight today. This Laguna Estate, which is set to cross the auction block this weekend at Mecum’s Kansas City sale, therefore presents an unusual opportunity.
This black-on-black Laguna Estate wagon appears to be slightly modified. The medium-brown factory woodgrain trim has been replaced with darker stuff, and 17-inch American Racing wheels step in for the original steelies with wheel covers. The rear bumper originally would have been chrome, but has been painted body color to match the front-end treatment. Like all the GM “colonnade” wagons, it is a pillared hardtop with frameless door glass and a rear hatch in place of a tailgate.
Under the hood, we’re told the 350-cubic-inch V8 has been rebuilt as has the turbo-hydramatic transmission. Hooker headers, Flowmaster mufflers, and Bilstein shocks also have been fitted. Inside, one finds factory A/C, power windows and door locks, and a tilt steering wheel, making it highly optioned for a Chevelle wagon. There’s no mention of this car having the rear-facing third-row seat option, but the cargo area seems to be in particularly good shape. A new headliner is said to have been installed, and the dash leather-wrapped.
Mecum says this is one of 6,640 Laguna wagons built for 1973. It’s hard to imagine that more than a handful survive. Contemporaries like the Ford Country Squire are positively common by comparison. Fans of obscure, malaise-era wagons, this is your chance.