I love this oven so much. It was secretly a selling point for us when we bought the house, although I realize that this, along with the retro 1957 bathrooms, will not be as attractive to most other buyers. Regardless, we plan to maintain the oven as long as possible. Fortunately, everything works great with the exception of the built-in clock / timer. I bought a copy of the original manual off of eBay hoping to find some troubleshooting instructions. There wasn't any info on fixing the clock (guess I'll live with it) but there were some interesting details about the model J-501 oven and J-551 surface unit. At some point over the years, our original range was replaced with Frigidaire burners. Whoever replaced the burners left the GE control panel in place. It doesn't work, obviously, but it looks cool (plus you can still press the buttons and pretend). The interior of the oven is "deluxe Starlight Grey vitreous enamel" that cleans really easily and still looks fabulous. According to the manual I should be able to remove the heating element and broiler for cleaning purposes, although I haven't done this yet—I'm a little nervous about breaking something.
Update, 4/12/13: In case you are interested in a few more details from the manual, I scanned in the pages that relate to the built-in model I own. The manual is 105 pages, so I skipped over the cooking tips and recipes; however if I find myself with copious amounts of free time in the future, I'll make another update with the additional pages.
posted by Rachel