Philips 212 vs Lenco L85....

can purchase one of these for $100 locally...any clear winner?
Yes. Get the Lenco. I have serviced many Phillips machines. They have issues with the light bulbs under the speed sensors, speed stability issues and the limitation of the arm that comes with it.

OTOH the Lenco allows for a lot of tweaks that give a great upgrade path. There is quite a bit of information about that on this forum.
I had the Lenco - it's a belt drive (not Idler), and the platter is stamped steel, not a heavy cast/machined job. That said, I would say it's worth $100 provided it's in excellent condition. The drive mechanism is solid, but the tone arm is very average. It has auto lift at the end of play which is nice, but if you don't value that I would figure out how to install a better arm.

Atmosphere - are you sure you're not thinking of the Lenco Idlers? I don't recall finding much info - especially upgrade related when I had my L85.
I think Bdgregory is correct; my 1977 HIFI Choice Turntables and Cartridges list a Lenco L84 and give it an average rating with no recommendation. It is regarded as being reasonable for the price, which was then 60 Pounds. The Phillips 312, which succeeded the 212, is recommended but with the caution that as it used a steel platter MC cartridges should be avoided.Its cost then was 95 Pounds. I used 212s and thought them good tables but these tables are 30+ years old. Unless they are in exceptional condition I would avoid either and pick up a used Rega, more money but better sound and very likely much less trouble.
Yes, I was indeed thinking of the idler Lencos.