These are my Singer 503a, also known as the Rocketeer, and my Necchi BU. They both give me great stitches and have lots of strength though the Rocketeer doesn't like to free motion quilt. Both are beautiful vintage machines in top condition. They have very few nicks and the paint looks very nice on both of them. They both came with their tables that they can drop down in but I don't like leaving them hanging. The Singer even came complete with all the attachments and gears to change the stitches.
The Singer was found at a garage sale. We passed it up but I went home and looked the model up on the internet. Once I found out it was a great quality machine, my husband went back the next day. It was on the curb! He offered to buy it & they took $5 off because Goodwill took the chair that went with the table. It turns out it belonged to the lady's aunt and she found herself with it and had only sewn a couple of curtains with it. I think it was rarely used. This machine was made between 1960 - 1962.
The Necchi was found at a thrift store. My husband likes roaming those shops and noticed someone else staring at it. He called me up to research it online while he stood next to it. I told him I didn't think it would be a good idea because it was missing some parts but he bought it anyways. He had trouble with the store when he went back to pick it up the next day because they didn't give him the right paperwork but he finally got them to give it to him. It sat around for a few months until one day he decided to fiddle around with it. He got the motor working in no time. I don't even know how. So then he looked up how to clean it and he cleaned & oiled it and it ran beautifully. Then a few weeks later he decided to drop in to a sewing machine repair store up in Denton where he works. The lady there was very helpful and got him the basic parts he needed. The hinges were bad on the table but she couldn't help him with that until her son was there the next Monday. Sew, he stopped in on Monday and chatted with them and got the hinges that most closely matched what we needed. It took a while to make the hinges fit right but he did it. Then he went out and bought me a 1/4 inch foot and a darning foot so I could sew with it! It was really a surprise and it machine quilts like its cutting warm butter! There is a middle setting on the foot lifter that lifts the presser foot without letting the thread tension slack ,which is invaluable when needing to turn the quilt on straight line quilting. This machine was made in Italy from the late 1940s to the early 1950s.
I was very lucky & I think it was fate that brought them both to me and that they were each under $40! The Necchi was missing a few parts, including the bobbin holder, but they were easy to acquire. They both sew amazingly and have made me appreciate such fine quality workmanship & style. "They just don't make them like they used to." If you can get close to the quality, you won't be able to get close to the price. My Rocketeer is worth at least $300 from a dealer, if he doesn't try to sell you a new one for hundreds more. I'm not sure about the Necchi. Sew the moral is, sewing top quality can be affordable & great deals can be found, if you do your research.