A well cared for lathe (heck, some of them have just been sitting around doing nothing) of a good make can last for many, many years. Perhaps if you go with a higher end stand alone model Grizzly offers, ($3000 to $5000) you could approach the same quality levels as that of an older Monarch, South Bend, etc.
Like I said, depending on where you live, finding one may be close to impossible, as it was for me.
Just saying, if you can find that kind of deal, it would be worth it.
They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. -Benjamin Franklin
Original Lawmakers: The Framers
Current Lawmakers: Termites