Maybe the "auto shut-off" is the feature I confused with "lift"...
Man - that was a long time ago.
Anyway, I feel that many of the old Thorens belt drives can sound extremely good, but this is taking into consideration condition and setup (which includes properly matching the cartridge to the arm).
I’m a long term Thorens fan and truly enjoy the sound of the TD125II/SME combo I’ve been using the past 20 years.
I preferred my 160/SME combos to the TD121/124 models (used the same SME arms on them), but this was before high mass plinths and other tweaks were considered.
The 121/124 had less detailed/fatter bass and lacked the "reverb/air" quality of the light weight 160’s (most noticeable in the mid’s to the HF’s).
Both of my belt/idler drive decks (121/124) had the crappy pull-out plinths used in console installations and I never though of/considered building something better.
This was in that late 70's/early 80's and I never paid more than $40 for any of the decks (purchased from some local Los Angeles for sale rag that I think had "trader" in the name).
My TD125/SME combo was purchased (Ebay) around 2001 for $200 plus $25 shipping (buy it now ad that I came across in the early morning hours)
I offered the seller more shipping money for quality packing and they replied don't worry about it.
The container received was the size of the container our, new then, wall oven arrived in and it cost a lot more than $25 to ship.
A few days later I received another parcel that contained the dust cover, which I had previously told them that I did not want.
The seller was a HiFi shop on the East coast (DC/Boston area maybe) that was cleaning out it's storage rooms.
Wish I had stocked up on WE 300B's back then.