I have a friend with one,its about 3 yrs old,only has a litle 5 hp on it.He loves it,has had zero trouble with it,and he doesnt really believe in PM,he waits til it breaks for the most part,his is not stainless though.
SnowGodFather - Looks like a good spreader. Haven't heard much about them good or bad, but Curtis is supposed to be a pretty good company. One problem that I see is the 5hp Briggs. Get the upgrade - any upgrade. 5hp is seriously underpowered, IMO. Also, when I was looking into spreaders last Summer, I looked at one with a Briggs and Stratton. It came with instructions about what to do when it wouldn't start. I think it involved cleaning out the gas line. And it was an 8.5 hp for the same sized unit you're looking at - 1.7 cu yd. I wound up with an 11hp Honda.
A relative of mine has one and he also has the 5hp. model and has'nt had a single problem, but he is a PM nut so his stuff lasts a while. He did mention that if your spreading (dry) straight salt the 5hp engine is fine but if you spread sand that might have tendency to "rock up" as he put it, you might have some trouble.
We have two 2yrd sanders one 10.5 hp Fisher and a 8hp Air flow and dont really like either! I think we are going to keep one of them then go with a hydro 3yrd or electric those damn little moters flood out so easy. Im with plowking on electric!