A few EM restoration questions from a pinball newbie...
I recently got the urge to purchase an EM pinball for my young son to learn the game (plus dad always wanted one). I have several opportunities and wanted to get some advice from the community.
In researching pinballs heavily over the past few weeks, my ultimate goal is to purchase a working classic Gottlieb EM with 3" flippers and drop targets. I see that these can be hard to find at a reasonable price. So, I have a few options to consider given my budget of $600 - 800 total.
1) Wait it out until something comes along in my budget. Again, not sure how long this would take.
2) Purchase two machines - one that works (but is not my target game) and a second non-working machine for restoration (cheaper way to get a game I want). I have an opportunity to do this.
Obviously there are many ways to acquire a working machine that isn't my target game. But, for the non-working machine, I found a game that, according to the seller, needs a thorough cleaning of the lower PF banks and mechanics. From photos, the BG, PF, and body look to be in fairly good shape. It's tough to see, but I can look at the game before purchase. The machine is being sold by a company that restores pinballs, but they are willing to sell this before restoration due to a lack of resources to restore quickly.
I guess I'm really looking for any advice on major red flags when inspecting a restoration machine. I don't want this to become a ridiculous money and time pit just to get one working machine. But, I am intrigued by restoring a game I really want. What is a fair price for a non-working classic EM like this?
3) Bonus question... Where do you draw the line when buying working machines in terms of PF condition? There is a really cool 60's classic Gottlieb 2" flipper game with a very nice BG, but a very rough PF. The machine works, but I wonder if I should consider this if the PF would eventually need a complete overhaul (worn down to bare wood in several areas). I could consider this as my working game, but I'm curious if it's worthwhile. Over time, I would probably get annoyed by the appearance (and possibly its affect on play) and want to restore it. Not sure if this is something to consider given the condition.
Thanks for the help!