Judy. Hobart was sold to Illinois Tool Works (ITW) several years ago. The Kitchenaid product line was sold to Whirlpool Corp. several years ago too.
The new N-50 mixers have a motor that is designed by Hobart, but no longer built by Hobart. Last year Hobart began out-sourcing approx. 12-15% of their componnents to Asia. Their parts catalog does not show anything but metal gears. I suspect the new motors have been built in Asia. Wattage is not the output of the motor, but how much power it takes to run the motor and is no indication of how much power goes into your mixing bowl. The true measure of mixing power is horsepower. The N-50 motors are rated at 1/6 HP. Wattage claims by mixer manufacturers is a complete snowjob, and they all do it. Consumers have no protection as a result of this policy. It is a marketing ploy to make you believe that this indicates output power. Shame on all of them! Most componnents of the new N-50's are still manufactured in the USA.
I see that you've done some homework on Kitchenaid Mixers. I wish I had before I bought mine. Yes, they have a plastic transmission housing, and yes, they fail under strong loads demanded by bread dough and stiff cookie dough mixtures (my HD Professional 450 watts failed 5 months out of warranty, after only 30 uses making bread). Go to the www.consumeraffairs.com
website and search for Kitchenaid mixer problems and reviews and brace yourself for a shock.
My mixer failed on Oct. 28th. and I had to fight tooth and nail with Kitchenaid to get them to re-imburse me for the cost of the parts that were destroyed by the housing failure. Here we are in 2009 and I'm still waiting for one more part. Kitchenaid parts take at least a month to arrive (in my experience).
I didn't do the research on mixers until mine failed. Since then I've purchased an older Hobart N-50 (with a motor BUILT by Hobart), and this is what I recommend you do, as it will save you much grief down the road. Mine was manufactured in 1990 and only needed. re-greasing to make it like new.
You can find them often on eBay but will have to buy without trying them. Try to find one that is newer rather than older, as a rebuild will get very expensive. I got mine from a Rest. Equip. Wholesaler and was able to try it out in all gears. The previous post (solution) was correct in saying that you should look for one that has a black knob on the shifter handle, this will be a newer one as opposed to an ancient one with an all metal shift lever and potentially worn out innards. If you find one, take it to Hobart, or a Hobart tech can come to you (check service rate) have the unit cleaned, inspected and re-greased. Sit back and take comfort in the fact that these mixers were built like a tank, and will probably outlast you.
Most of all. Good luck, and happy hunting. ricardok45