Rancilio Silvia Espresso
(San Francisco, CA USA)
I have had a Rancilo Silvia for about 5 years now. I bought it off of EBay as a refurbished model in order to find one at a lower price. It was in great shape, in the original box, with manuals, warranty, etc.
I have to say it's a tank. The stainless steel body is extremely durable and easy to clean. There are some plastic parts, but it's solid where it counts... all the major components are well made.
The espresso produced is only as good as the coffee and your technique. That said it's pretty hard to screw up. Some people will tell you that the temperature shifts more than they would like, but I've never made an undrinkable cup... and 90% of the time it's quite good.
The inside (I've seen photos) is like an old Chevy... very recognizable parts, and customizable for those DIY hackers out there. This machine hits a sweet spot of being not too expensive, but having the majority of features required to pull shots with the best of them. And as such some have taken to modifying (at your own risk) them to add temperature regulators. I mention this not to discourage novices, but as an indication of the love some owners have for their machines. Few would bother to "pimp" their Mr. Coffee... and overly complex or expensive machines are too much trouble to modify. As a result the also do quite well at holding their value should you decide to move on.
I eventually got a Rancilio Rocky burr grinder to go with it. It took me some experimenting to get the grind to the right optimized for a 25-30 second pour (depends on the beans used.) I'm not really a hard core aficionado.
The bottom line is this is a great machine that will last you a long time. It will make a decent espresso if you kinda know what you are doing, but if you seek to hone your barista skills over time you can produce a top notch espresso. It's kind of like a solid typewriter... it won't write the novel for you, but inspire you to write better and hone your technique knowing that a great novel is possible.