The most frequently asked question is:
“What does it cost?”
The cost to restore a 356 depends on condition and desired end result. 356Restore only does driver level restoration, as concours restoration can cost two to three times more and take at least three times as long.
Many 356s being restored today are in very poor shape. Either very rusty due to fifty years in wet environments or previously restored at minimal expense i.e., brazing, fiberglass, heavy bondo, non-original replacement panels, etc. You can determine the condition of your project by doing a detailed inspection. The following costs are for an average driver level condition; adjust costs accordingly for your condition.
Remove everything except suspension, transmission, wiring harness and headliner (if in acceptable condition). Dis-assembly takes fifteen to twenty-five hours. Cost at $75/hr is $1,125 to $1,875. You can do dis-assembly and save.
Have the complete 356 media blasted except for suspension, wheels and transmission. Have doors, lids and bumpers off the 356. Have small parts, i.e. hood/lid hinges, seat mounts, late fuel tank, bumper brackets blasted. Do not blast the early tank or aluminum hinge covers. Media blasting will cost $800 to $1,000 depending on condition.
Once blasted, all the damaged metal is revealed. Costs can vary from $2,000 to $12,000 including replacement panels.
Use of minimal filler. Getting the door and hood lid to fit flush with even gaps. All major parts are dry fit. Costs can run from $2,000 to $5,000.
Cost $7,000 to $9,000
Parts allowance of $2,500 to cover glass, rubber and small parts. Allow 80 to 100 hours for reassembly. Cost with parts $6,000 to $10,500.
This can be a major item if the engine needs a rebuild; cost $8,000 to $12,000. Allow $750 to $1,000 for small mechanical such as brakes, linage adjustment, alignment, etc.
Could be zero if everything worked at evaluation. A new wiring harness could be $1,200.
Best Case – $19,675 without major mechanical
Worst Case – $40,125 without major mechanical OR $53,575 with mechanical and electrical