I'm interested in buying one of these from a dealer but before I do is there anything I should know about? If it has any parts that need replacing, are they expensive? Any advice would be much appreciated.
Because of the age of these units, I think it's imperative to have a qualified tech check out the components before diving in. I've bought four V76s in the past five years and every one of them had to have some components replaced before it met specs, and in one case the entire unit was rebuilt by Oliver Archut at TAB Funkenwerk. You may be best off buying a refurbed unit directly from Oliver or from Dave Marquette, who also does fine work with the V series Teles. And by all means when you do get a V76 make sure you used ramped phantom power to protect the transformer. Oliver suggested a simple mod that's probably archived on his guest moderator thread on the REP site. As far as the cost of repairs, Oliver does a complete refurb for $450, well worth the money. What is your dealer asking for the unit you're considering?
Don't give up on the V76 yet - ask the dealer what (if any) work has been done on it, then factor the repair cost into that. IMO $1,500 a channel is a pretty good deal on a good V76, $1,000 or less for a "raw module" that needs new tubes, caps, trannies etc. These puppies sound amazing, like nothing else (V72 is close and about half the price). Also check out Oliver's own V-series recreations, I've read great reviews of them.
If you want a V76... You might want to check out (or demo) the Mercury M76m. I have the M72 and I absolutely love it. Hassle free and it has become my favorite pre for so many things now. And the DI is unwordly. I use it for all my guitars and bass. It's not cheap. Marquette has been delayed in shipping them, but he told me that he's sending a demo to Vintage King. I want one.
You're right, it's not cheap! I'm afraid I would not spend that amount with some serious demo time with the unit, and that's not going to happen where I'm located (unfortunately).
If I'm spending a large amount on a piece of gear the Pendulum Quartet 11 is very high on my list. It might be worth a trip to the US to actually demo both these units (at the same time bringing the little lady for a weekend away!).
As to the V76 that was offered for sale, a week later the dealer replied and he had not seen one for a while(???). Maybe it's all for the better.