Excellent comments guys, thanks!
PAC was a lot of fun at Pintastic (actually I almost bought it at $1200), but a little slower than I want (for my first at least) and those tiny flippers...sigh. Actually, largest part of my reticence on PAC was all that open field. Each game has it's own personality, a great thing actually, but that's how folks end up with twenty of them, and half needing work to getting playing again. That just can't be me, so I have to be rather choosy due to space and (sorry, but it's true) a general lack of mechanical/electrical interest. I mean I'll do what it takes to keep a game or two running, but I'm not a fixer/restorer and know myself well enough to know that I never will be one either. It's just painful for me, the thing I'd put off doing for weeks and months. So one bad game is one thing, a room full of them...that equals depression!
There was a really pretty PAC on here last year for either 12 or $1400. And there's one now, but maybe an out of date listing?, for $1200 on Mr. Pinball. So yes, they are around. Gonna try chasing CC for a while first.
And awesome to know that CC should produce a very loud 'crack' - dunno why but I love that. So does the missus. Which (as we all know) getting her on board is more than half the battle
So $1000-$1500 is a fair range, and I won't make anybody (private, not boutique shops) mad by offering in that area should I run into a pretty nice or better one?
Any other suggestions where playability is on par with CC and in the same price range? I'm sort of over chasing the art (C37, Abra, etc), much rather play long AAB games and not get bored.