Fender’s “The Strat” was the first attempt (outside of the 25th Anniversary Stratocaster in 1979) at a high-end Strat. These instruments were special because they had a smaller pre-CBS (like) headstock, 4 Bolt Neck and regular truss rod instead of the bullet truss rod and large headstock that all other stratocasters had in this era.
Furthermore, they featured brass parts that were coated in 100 microns thick of gold. To put that into perspective, that is the same grade as fine watches. For an item to be advertised as gold plated, it must have at least .5 microns of gold. Heavy Gold Plated is considered 2.5 microns. THIS WAS 100 MICRONS. It is believed that Fender actually lost money making this guitars since the price went up during production.
The parts plated included the special bridge, trem bar, knobs, jack plate and after 1982 the tuners and switch tip were also plated!
Specs were all over the place on these as you could special order them with just about any spec you’d like. Ash and Alder were the two more common bodies woods, but there are rare American Black Walnut versions out there too (like the one featured in this article!)
These instruments can be rather heavy with all the gold plated brass, but they are also very versatile guitars with the X-1 Bridge pickup that is hotter than a regular
The S-1 system mimics a varitone in that you turn it and it clicks into different positions from standby to the two main categories. This system allows you 9 different tones as illustrated here
These are quite versatile strats because of this though many can be rather heavy. This particular example was about 9.5lbs!