I was the previous owner of this machine before selling my spot at HEP to another collector. I purchased it from the original owner who told me they purchased it NIB. They were very wealthy and had a lot of expensive toys so I have no reason to doubt them. Compared to their boat, cars, and other expensive toys a NIB pinball machine would have been a drop in the bucket for them. However they were not a pinball collector so it was neglected and got very dirty. They purchased the machine when they lived in PA and it took it with them when they moved to Florida, so the transposition could explain the cabinet flaws and FL climate could explain any corrosion. I had it shipped to me from FL with NAVL and the legs were on so that could have added to the wear around the legs.
Obviously we will never know if it was truly HUO however I have owned a lot of older HUO machines and this had a lot characteristics of what I typically see on those machines (very nice shooter lane, clean lockdown receiver/PF bottom/cabinet inside, matching boards, etc). I don't think you can see the full shooter lane in his pictures so here is how it looked:
The machine worked properly when I received it and the only reason I tore down some of the topside was to get a better look at the playfield because I didn't want to send a machine to HEP that needed a reproduction playfield. Every part that I removed was in those boxes and packaged safely so it should all be there. The only thing missing was the DMD and that was because I removed it for a color DMD.
This was one of the nicest original MM's I have seen and my plans were always to have Chris restore this as close to original as possible since it was a very nice starting example. Most restored MM's are far from the original and have lots of reproduction parts, so I think it will be one of the nicest MM's in existence when done. I'm glad the new owner has a similar vision and is doing the restore how I always wanted to see it done. I will be following and look forward to seeing how it turns out.