Following the sale of Fender Music Company to CBS and the notorious cost cutting initiatives of the 1970s, Fender had lost its luster and was no longer known as a maker of high quality instruments. The Fender Music Company of the late 70's sold some of the most disastrous guitars ever produced.
In the early 1980s, Fender hired Dan Smith to turn Fender's quality issues and poor sales around. The goal was to recapture Fender's reputation among dealers and guitar players. Dan completely shut down the Fender plant and spent approximately 2 years training the employees how to build a quality guitar.
The plan for Fender's salvation was to reissue several of the most popular guitars of Leo Fender's era. It was decided that the 1957 and 1962 Stratocaster and the 1952 Telecaster would serve as the benchmarks. These first few years (1982 - 1984) of American Vintage Reissues are some of the finest to ever leave Fender's factory. It has been estimated that about 10-15 American Vintage Reissues were made per day, by hand, during the Fullerton era. This project was critical to the survival of Fender with these models still being produced today.