Highly recommend if a) its the reliable model and b) you care more about performance than looks.
Positive Product Points
Heats up fast, makes very good espresso, plenty of steam power for milk.
Negative Product Points
Mine is an older model. It has plastic drip tray and cover (cup warmer). It is painted steel, I would prefer stainless. It would be better if it was not so tall. It is not a widely sold machine, and this might impact things down the line.
Since I like cappuccino and have always taken milk with my coffee and enjoyed entertaining a primary requirement was for a HX machine. Although I was considering an Expobar, this came up on ebay at a good price and I clicked buy-it-now as a shoot from the hip reaction.
I bought from a very well reputed power seller who was a pleasure to deal with. There were a few things I didn't realize at the time I bought it. First, while the machine is "as new", it is not the current model: my model was manufactured between (est.) 1995-8. The later date is pretty firm since the steam wand was discontinued in 1998 (and replaced with a thicker one). Second, there were some problems with the early mini-grimacs which caused a high rate of failures. However, if you google alt.coffee group you'll find the way to differentiate the machines. Luckily, mine was made after the most critical problems were fixed, so I did indeed get a bargain. (But I went a bit crazy between buying it and its arrival worrying that I had wasted my money.)
Its the first espresso machine I've owned, but it is a powerhouse. It self primes, has a large water tank (5 liter), rated at 1600 w, has a gauge. Its an auto, I would have prefered a semi-auto but thats pretty minor. I'm very happy with the machine.
I had hope that any servicing issues could be handled through 1st-line who carries the current version. Unfortunately, 1st-line seems to be discontinuing this machine. I then turned to the US distributor and called up Grimac Royale Falcon. The problem I had was that the machine came without a manual (I found a PDF of the semi-automatic which I down loaded) and Edward at GRF offered to send me some information if he could find something laying around. I also wanted to get the steam wand fixed, since a "cappuccino master" had been installed. The steam wand they sent didn't fit (it was larger), so I had to talk to Marcantonio who was working for the company when my machine shipped, and he sent me a nipple and a spacer. It still leaked, so I had to get an o-ring which they sent for free along with a grouphead screw which broke when I tried to unscrew it. Both Edward and Marc were very pleasant and helpful, and its nice to have that kind of backup, especially on an order of this size. When I have needs again I will certainly contact them.
I bought on ebay from a power seller with a 99%+ rating. They are a auction house specializing in stuff like this. They were pleasant and prompt and fairly knowledgable. The two plastic pieces arrived with small cracks in the corner--I consider this par for the course. Everything else was exactly as described, and this machine seems to have almost no use on it.