Soo--was checking out Craigslist and what to I see? A 301a at a reasonable price! So it involved a day trip to Panama City (there is a nice quilt shop there), but what a nice machine (even though it is very, well, beige).
Overall, it's in pretty good shape aside from the lack of a bobbin case and a bad electrical cord. The cord is no big deal, but the bobbin case suffers from Featherweight syndrome. Featherweights are nice, cute, super-lightweight machines that have become a collectible fad. This drives the prices way up, and it also drives the prices of parts up. And the 301a uses the same bobbin case as a Featherweight. Vintage bobbin cases for these machines cost more than I paid for the machine. So, I'm taking a risk and ordering a new, reproduction bobbin case, despite stories of some of them not working well. It still was not cheap, but is half what a vintage original costs. I'm going to view this as an experiment. I found a TOWA Japanese-made case, and I am crossing my fingers and hoping it works.
I have been cleaning and oiling it and trying to make it sew well. I borrowed a bobbin case and power cord from my Featherweight. I have had some problems with thread breaks, but they seem to happen less often now. I cleaned some thread out that was wrapped around the bobbin assembly and took apart the tension. I still need to do some more testing and wait for parts. I wonder if the bobbin winder works.