About a month ago, I posted a WTB thread for a '79 Flash. (http://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/wtb-1979-williams-flash-houston-area). My only criteria was that the backglass had to be in good shape. A fellow Pinsider replied, and I made the drive from Houston to Austin to pick it up.
At first glance, the machine looked trashed. However, on closer inspection I could see that the playfield was in pretty good shape under all that dirt. After looking over the entire machine and talking to the owner, I believe I've figured out the history of this machine.
It was was operated in Texas from '79 until '83 (still has the tax stamps). At that point, I believe the operator took it off route because it wan't making much $$, and in order to use the MPU, Driver and main display boards in other games. I don't think this machine saw a lot of play because there was no mylar around the slings, yet only one tiny spot that had any wear. The kickout hole still looked perfect, and the underside of the playfield was really clean. The worst part of the playfield was the inserts - lifted and cupped. The owner (another operator) told me he purchased it about 20 years ago from the original operator for a project, but he never got around to it and it's been siting in his warehouse since then.
The first thing I did after unloading was to take some 'before' pictures. Here's a few of those...