It's not the cost that I'm worried about as much as the "feel" of the cabinets. New cabinets, even ones that are period appropriate just don't feel like old cabinets. The angles are too sharp, and you can just tell that they're new. I know the '80s cabinets have to go, but I'm very hesitant about buying new ones.
To answer Thouser, yes, we're going to be staying a while, possibly forever. We actually have too much storage in the current kitchen. Or rather, we have too much of the wrong kind of storage. There's no room for larger items, and too much for little stuff. There is also a lot of wasted space because of the soffits. The old cabinets will eliminate the soffit, and some of the wasted space will be reclaimed. We still will have to fabricate at least one lower cabinet for baking sheets and such, but I've read that making a plywood cabinet isn't horribly difficult.
Abuela - I think your cabinets are nicer than mine...
The faces and doors on mine are wood, but the box is just particleboard with a faux woodgrain laminate. I do plan on going "retro" with my kitchen, but probably '20s and '30s more than '50s.