Need Help Restoring Dad's 75 Laguna

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Post by dadslaguna on Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:31 pm

Hi everyone. I'm new to the forum and have been looking around awhile for parts and advice. Here's the story: My dad bought a 75 Laguna S3 new and it was the car we rode in as kids and the first car I learned to drive in. I drove it some in high school, then it was loaned to my cousin for awhile. Between us kids it took on some wear and tear. It was already starting to rust in the early 90's and dad didn't really have the money to sink into it. The past few years it's sat outside and he's considered it too far gone to be worth fixing up. I'm in a position now I can afford to work on it if it's even fixable. I've talked to local body shops who say it is, but I'm afraid the parts are going to be hard to find. I guess I'm looking for advice on where to find parts, your thoughts on if it's even worth it, and any other advice you might be able to offer. I've been looking for donor cars to come up with a dash and interior pieces, but it seems like they're hard to find. I guess my questions are:

1) Is it too far gone to save? Mice have eaten everything up including wiring. Pretty much everything but the frame and floor are rusting. I've been told it would take $15-$20,000 to put it in show room condition without me doing much of the work. I know it isn't worth that, but a lot of it is sentimental. I've also been told it's rare enough that it may become more sought after in years to come and since it's a one-owner car that will make it that much more valuable to a collector if we would ever sell it.
2) Any idea how rare it really is? I've seen the production #'s for the year, but I've never been able to find out how many were produced with the 400 small block. It has the swivel bucket seats with an auto tranmission. I assume the 400 isn't nearly as good as one with a 454, but are they better than the 350's as far as rarity?
3) Are there any places to find aftermarket parts for them? I've looked at junkyards in my area, scoured the internet, and mostly strike out. I'm sure I've missed some good sites though.
4) If it's worth restoring, how particular do I need to be in order to keep it valuable? I don't know if I can just have the seats re-upholstered, or if I really need to find replacements to keep it ideal. Does the black vinyl top have to go back on, or can I leave it off? Personally I'd like it better off.

Sorry for the long post, I just really don't have much experience with these cars and it seems like there's a wealth of knowledge here. I'll post some pictures of what's left of it. Thanks for any help!

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Post by dadslaguna on Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:32 pm


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Post by Mcarlo77 on Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:56 pm

Hey, first of all, welcome to the site...glad you found us. You are correct in assuming there is a wealth of information here. I'm going to be the first to say "don't you dare even think about NOT restoring this car!" You think your's is marginal...you should see what I've got to work with for my Laguna restoration. It's got rust everywhere AND in the floors!

It's true there are some challenges to finding parts for these Lagunas, but not impossible. I have access to three Lagunas sitting in salvage yards right now...as well as dozens of Chevelles, Montes, Malibus, Cutlasses, etc that share many of the interior trim pcs. In fact, I probably already have most everything you need. Can pull any and all wiring that you need, too. Sheet metal can come from any rust free Chevelle/Malibu donor car. Your biggest challenge will most likely be finding a damage-free dash...although, there are companies that can restore yours. Bet with everyone's help on here, you can knock that ballpark restoration cost of $15-$20K down to size.
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Post by Limey SE on Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:02 pm

I dont care what anyone says depending on how bad the wires are they are easily ( sort of ) found the metal looks Very good in the pics the floors if needed should max be 1200 for parts ( if even that high ) and it looks the car is on a farm and most if not all farmers can weld good enough to put the floors in, I think it would be a very good candtidate to restore and................ Dang other then my Lime green I like this color scheme alot I mean alot alot


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Post by Mcarlo77 on Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:20 pm

If I'm not mistaken, there are correct repro seat covers for these swivels, too. As far as cosmetic modifications, if you don't like the half vinyl top, leave it off. You could always add that later if you felt it jeopardizes the resale value down the road.

Don't know where you'd find production numbers for the 400 engine. Based on what I've seen (or, not seen shall I say) they are much less common that the 350.
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Post by lagunainnewark on Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:40 pm

The advice you recieve so far comes from very smart people, SAVE the car... I have 76, you have a nice car. Save all old parts, Mcarlo77 has save me alot of time and $$$. I have a 76 parts car, my bumper is salvagable. If I can help let me know. Ron..
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Post by dadslaguna on Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:54 pm

Thanks for the quick help! Wow, I didn't expect to get this much help fast. Limey, you're one of the few who've told me they like that orange color! I think it would look pretty slick with fresh paint on it, but most people don't care for it.
It seems like the dash is going to be the hardest piece to come by. MCarlo77, thanks for the offer for parts. As I get closer to tearing into it I might call on you. The body shop I think I've decided on wants to get it in November 1st and work on it over the winter. They said if I can help them track down parts and do some of the little stuff it will help tremendously.

Yea, dad's a farmer and could do a lot of the welding, but I'm trying to keep this a secret. He'd notice it missing of course, so I've told him me and a buddy from work are just gonna tinker on it this winter. He doesn't think there's any way it can be saved, so my goal is to keep it under wraps and have it finished in time for the local car show this spring and have it sitting there when him and mom get to town. I think he'll be shocked!

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Post by Famstyle on Wed Oct 05, 2011 11:31 pm

SAVE IT!!!!! WELL WORTH ALL THE EFFORT!!! Leg Hump
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Post by orange Juiced on Wed Oct 05, 2011 11:32 pm

Welcome and looks like ur in good hands with the guys that have answered back.

There is only a handful of companies that reproduce some parts for our cars, u should be able to find mostly any parts from some of the guys on here. Poke around in the "Other Links" section on this forum, Its pretty much all the companies that reproduce parts for G3s.

Good luck
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Post by McCauley5983 on Wed Oct 05, 2011 11:53 pm

the color is cool. very cool laguna even better its a 400
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Post by 77mali on Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:10 am

Welcome to the site. I would suggest that you remove the seats & carpet to asses the floor boards. (These cars are notorious for leaks around the front & back glass). A new set of floor boards will cost between $3-500. The trunk is also another area of concern if water has gotten in there that's a 3 piece set up i've seen them for $700-$1,000. I'm in the midst of a restoration right now on a 77 classic. All of the "bones" of these cars are still available. There are also yards out there that you can find part in. PS- If you do the work yourself you'll spend far less than 18-20K. Good luck & you're a good son!
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Post by Tom77 on Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:22 am

Welcome to the site! Dont forget from the doors forward it is the same as and elcamino. Some parts out there for them. Just search under the same year. Good luck with the project.
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Post by dadslaguna on Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:44 am

77mali wrote:Welcome to the site. I would suggest that you remove the seats & carpet to asses the floor boards. (These cars are notorious for leaks around the front & back glass). A new set of floor boards will cost between $3-500. The trunk is also another area of concern if water has gotten in there that's a 3 piece set up i've seen them for $700-$1,000. I'm in the midst of a restoration right now on a 77 classic. All of the "bones" of these cars are still available. There are also yards out there that you can find part in. PS- If you do the work yourself you'll spend far less than 18-20K. Good luck & you're a good son!

Thanks for the tips. I'll do as much as I can on my own, but I'm VERY limited in my skills when it comes to welding and body work. I'm great at tearing stuff apart; not so much at putting it back together Smile

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Post by 77mali on Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:52 am

If you can save time for the body shop that will save you tons of $$$$. We can all help with stuff like dash removal & such. Make sure you have a breaker bar and some "Torx" bits (and alot of patience) for those seat belt bolts & take your time cause original seat belts & anchors are just about the hardest things to find w/ out paying through the nose for New Old Stock. Took me 6 months to find the right ones & they were from a 75 Nova.
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Post by The Dude on Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:22 am

Welcome to the site! Here's a list of some of the G3 vendors, but there are more that I haven't added yet:

http://www.g3gm.com/t3633-g3-vendors

Personally, the Persimmon color is one of my favorites & the vinyl top would look good to break things up. As others said though, you could always add that later if you wanted to sell it.

My thoughts:

1) It's not too far gone to restore. From the looks of it, you have all of the high dollar/hard to find parts intact.
2) I'll try to get production numbers for you if they are in one of my books.
3) Apart from the link I gave you above, check out the interchange section as well. You'd be surprised at what will swap with ours.
4) There are plenty of resources to make it factory correct. Changing wheels wouldn't hurt it's value since they can be changed back easily, but I'd keep the Rallies color matched if you choose to use them. Silver Rally wheels are overdone & not original to your car. The more original you get, the more valuable it is to a collector including getting all of the factory markings under the hood correct if you go that route.

If you need more help post up any numbers/letters that you find or if you find the build sheet, the RPO's. Look on the firewall for the body tag to find the correct color codes for your car. We have most of this stuff already posted throughout the site.
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Post by The Dude on Thu Oct 06, 2011 4:18 pm

Here's about all that I could find for the moment:

7,788 total 1975 Laguna production


TOTAL 1975 Chevelle/Monte Carlo numbers
RPOEngineProduced
LM1 350-4bbl 34,351
LS44544,263
LT440040,603
L65350-2bbl 464,275

I left out six cylinder production numbers since they were unavailable on the Laguna. From the looks of things, it doesn't appear that Chevrolet took count of how many specific models came with specific options, which is a real bummer. I'll keep digging, but I would assume somewhere between 1,200-1,500 came with the 400 just going off of these percentages & factoring in that the Laguna was a sports model. Gotta account for the fact that those numbers include wagons, El Caminos, & 4 doors; all of which were most likely to get either the 6 cylinder or the base 350.
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Post by dadslaguna on Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:17 pm

Thanks dude! Those are the best numbers I've seen so far.

So here's a question. I found a 75 for sale a couple states away for $5,000. Looks like all the interior I'd need is in great condition; dash, seats, gauges, emblems, etc... and the exterior appears to be in pretty good shape too. Has a good running 350 and transmission. Would it be worth $5,000 to have all the good parts off it? I figure a bumper, dash, wheels, grills, and the little interior pieces will add up quick if I have to purchase them seperate, and then I could part out what's left. I'm a little against tearing apart a good car though to make mine new again.

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Post by Mcarlo77 on Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:51 pm

Wow...not sure what to say about spending $5K for a parts car. Any of these cars priced at that level is most likely in pretty nice condition and it would be a shame to sacrifice one like that to save another...IMO. Hard to tell with pics, but am not sure why you are looking to replace wheels, grills and seats. They look decent enough to me. Wheels can be blasted and repainted pretty cheaply. Even repro rings and caps aren't very expensive. Pair of repro swivel bucket seat covers will run you about $300. Think I've seen replacement foam for these, too, if the mice have destroyed yours. And the grills...have you considered just buffing them out to bring back the shine? Another tip is to use a file to help eliminate the little "pimples" due to pitting. It's tedious work, but the results might surprise you. Price for a used bumper at the yards run anywhere from $100-$175...although chances are you'd have to rechrome one to make it "like new". You can find gauges for under $100. Nice emblems can be difficult to find, though...but, not impossible. They come up on e-Bay every now and then. And, we've already discussed the dash situation. Ask HD Hugger what she spent to have her's restored.
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Post by Jedediah on Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:20 am

I am with 77 and ya there is new foam availble for those swivel seats. I even watched a video on how to recover then using that companies foam insurts on youtube. I would think you could find everything for ur interior for alot cheaper then 5 grand. If your dads car is numbers matching you should try to keep it that way, since you seemed like you were going for show room quality.
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Post by dadslaguna on Fri Oct 07, 2011 7:36 am

Thanks. Yes, it's all #s matching so I could only use so much off a donor car. I want to keep it original I think. I don't know if it will ever be worth much but I guess it could be some day. Thanks for the input. I'll just grab the parts seperately. If anyone happens across a black dash they don't need or a floor console, I'd be ineterested!

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Post by george canter on Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:39 pm

i have a 76 laguna complet body very solid plus a lot of parts i just compled a 4 yr restoration on my 75 laguna had to buy 3 more to complet will sell everything for 2k

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