#1
Hey,

I bought a used fender strat at a local auction about a month ago, for £150. which is about $200. I only bought it because i knew that if it was genuine then it be worth a lot more than what i payed. The serial is E355142 and its MIA. i took the neck off and found that the 2 dates were 19 nov 83' on the guitar and 17 Dec 83' on the Neck. when i removed the scratchplate the cavity was rectangular and had a red pen marking that looked like a signature. I do beleive the strat is genuine but i can find no information about this particular guitar on the internet. apparently 83' was a very dodgey time for fender with the take-over.

here are some pictures of the dates and the guitar itself

http://h1.ripway.com/dcn2509/Strat/

Any information at all about value or authenticity will be appreciated!
#2
I am guessing that is a Smith Strat I. Those were made from 1981 to mid 1983. Since yours has three knobs and jack input not on the pickgaurd, that rules out the Smith Strat II's which are less valuable. Yours also appears to have the natural finish. I saw a 1982 (which would be marginally more valuable) recently trade on eBay for $1430:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=220368542748&ru=http%3A%2F%2Fshop.ebay.com%3A80%2F%3F_from%3DR40%26_trksid%3Dm38%26_nkw%3D220368542748%26_sacat%3DSee-All-Categories%26_fvi%3D1&_rdc=1

Yours would be slightly less valuable for the finish. Then you need to adjust for condition. Hope that helps.
1999 Gibson LP R9
2006 Tele John Cruz Masterbuilt
2007 MIA Strat Sunburst
2008 PRS SC-J Thinline Black Cherry/Bigsby (for sale)
2009 Zerberus Hydra II
2009 Custom Red Strat

Traynor YCV-50 Blue
#3
Cheers for the repsonse

I was surprised at the condition when i bought it, it is in perfect condition, no dings or dents or scratches. After i polished it earlier today it did look brand new!

I think that during the factory closures and the company take-over, i read that some guitars were just put together from the bits they had left, which is why some dates wont match and parts may be un-finished and thats why the were never used in the first place. Is it possible that my strat may be an outcome of this?
#4
The firm was not resold by CBS until 1985. That was the year (and 1986) they made the Strats in Japan. There is nothing dodgy about the 1981-83 Smith Strat I's although same think they are not as good as the pre-1981s (which is probably somewhat true) but then again the mid 1970s are not as good as the pre-CBS (1965 or earlier.)

Looks like you got a very good guitar for the price so enjoy--the real test is how does it sound? BTW, bookmark this for future purchases to check serial numbers:

http://www.guitardaterproject.org/fender.aspx

If you hate it, I will pay you the 200 quid for it!!!

Also, it goes without saying that if you want to keep it as an investment, never ever refinish, refret or renut unless you have to.
1999 Gibson LP R9
2006 Tele John Cruz Masterbuilt
2007 MIA Strat Sunburst
2008 PRS SC-J Thinline Black Cherry/Bigsby (for sale)
2009 Zerberus Hydra II
2009 Custom Red Strat

Traynor YCV-50 Blue
#6
Guitar Dater Project Site has this information for the serial number E355142

Guitar Info
Your guitar was made at the
Fullerton Plant (Fender - CBS Era), USA
in the Year(s): 1982 - 1985


Fender: Fullerton

The Fullerton factory opened in 1946, Fullerton California with the first major electric solid body guitar production began in 1950 with the Broadcaster (later known as the Telecaster). Sold in 1965 to CBS who in 1985 sold Fender to a group of private investors the plant was not included in that sale and was subsequently closed.
#7
Thanks for the replies again,

It is a sweet looking guitar, it caught my eye when i just happened to be walking past the auction rooms. when i had a look it was listed as a "Natural wood electric guitar", which made me wonder if it was legitimate or not, since there was no mention of it being a real fender or when it was made etc. when i got it back there was a bit of fret buzz so i raised the saddles which sorted that problem. It was strung with 9's so i changed them to 11's to make the most out of the pick-ups, and it after that it played and sounded fantastic! because of the extra tension i did have to block the trem with a battery so i couldnt get that Hank Marvin style but it's still a brilliant player.

Im more of a hard rock / alternative player though and have been looking for a PRS SE or perhaps even a CE one day, i probably will sell it on but for the momment i'm gonna try and get as much information on it as i can!

I'd like to think id get £1,000 plus for it but thats just me being optomistic!