Q: Greg, I am in the process of restoring a 1956 Oldsmobile 98 Starfire Convertible. I will be using all original parts for the restoration. Can you tell me how many were built in 1956 and how many are still around?
Also, what will the value be when I am finished the restoration? Thanks much, Dick K., Greensboro, N.C.
A: Dick, you've really got a great vehicle to restore!
In 1956, Oldsmobile built 79,693 Olds "98" Starfire series models, but only 8,581 were convertibles.
The sister "88" series produced a total of 9,561 ragtops, so of all the Oldsmobiles produced that year, totaling some 485,458 cars, only 18,142 were topless models. This is a huge "plus" for you when it comes to classic car values and overall desirability.
Under the hood, all Oldsmobiles in 1956 received power from a 324-inch V8, putting out 230 in the 88 models and 240 in the Super 88 and 98 series. The 240 horsepower engine also came as an option on the other 88 models, so if you wanted 10-more horses, you could have it.
The major difference between an 88 and a 98 Olds in 1956 is the latter's four-inch longer wheelbase. The 88 measures 122-inches while your 98 series model comes in at 126-inches.
The Olds 98 Starfire Convertible has a base price of $3,740, and is the most expensive model of the bunch. The 88 convertible's base price was way lower at $3,031. Surprisingly, the model with the lowest production number (5,465) is the Super 88 two-door sedan, but the model is worth but half the price of your convertible in restored condition.
Additionally, Olds did not make a station wagon the years 1951 through 1956; with the model appearing again in 1957 as a Fiesta 4-door model in 122-inch, 88 model dress only.
You can expect your Starfire convertible to be worth in the neighborhood of $40,000 to $45,000 when finished, perhaps more.
Even the "88" ragtop fetches $37,000 in fully restored condition. Good luck, and send us a photo when finished.