Bill Alston

Highway 1 and American Special Stratocasters


First Version Highway 1 in Honey Blonde

The first version of the Highway 1 was launched in 2002, but doesn't appear in Fender's Frontline of that year. They appear in Arbiters UK price list in 2002. The price at the time was £600. This was replaced in 2006/7 by version 2. The American Special was launched in 2010, but not as a direct replacement the highway 1 continued to be available for another year or so.


Highway 1 Version 1

For a short time only the SSS was available the HSS was launched in 2003. The Single coils are the normal classic pickups the Humbucker is an Atomic 11. Both had Medium Jumbo Frets, standard cast tuners and modern C neck.

Specifications

SSS Model HSS Model
Headstock Small 2 string trees Large 2 string trees
Neck Modern C 9.5" radius Maple with Maple or Rosewood Board Modern C 9.5" radius Maple with Rosewood Board
Body Alder Alder
Finish Low gloss acrylic (satin) Low gloss acrylic (satin)
Bridge 6 point vibrato Zinc Block Standard Spacing 6 point vibrato Zinc Block Standard Spacing
Pickguard White 11 laminated white controls White 11 laminated white controls
Pickups 3 white covered 6 pole piece single coils 2 white covered 6 pole piece single coils and 1 uncovered black Humbucker
Neck Finish Satin Polyurethane Satin Polyurethane
Other features Blank Neckplate No Microtilt Blank Neckplate No Microtilt

Colours

Year SSS HSS
2002 Sapphire Blue, Crimson Red, Ebony, Teal Green or Honey Blonde N/A
2003 Sapphire Blue, Crimson Red, Ebony, Teal Green or Honey Blonde Amber, Walnut or Ebony
2004 Sapphire Blue, Crimson Red, 3 Colour Sunburst, Teal Green or Honey Blonde Amber, Walnut or Ebony
2005 Sapphire Blue, Crimson Red, or Honey Blonde Amber, Walnut or Ebony
2006 Sapphire Blue, Crimson Red, 3 Colour Sunburst or Honey Blonde Amber, Walnut or Ebony

In 2002/3 some Highway 1s were made in cocoa brown, but this isn't shown in any catalogue.

Some Images of Version 1
   
These are Sapphire Blue SSS

 
And a HSS Version 1 in Amber


The 2006 Frontline still features version 1 but also states that these now feature the greasebucket tone circuit.


Highway 1 Version 2

This version was launched in 2006 and first appears in the 2007 Frontline. The most obvious cosmetic difference was that the SSS now has a 70s style large headstock. There were other differences too the pickups and frets have been changed along with the vibrato unit.

Specifications

SSS HSS
Headstock Large 2 string Trees Large 2 string trees
Body Alder with satin nitro finish Alder with satin nitro finish
Neck Modern C 9.5" radius Maple with Maple or Rosewood Board Modern C 9.5" radius Maple with Rosewood Board
Bridge 6 point Vintage Style Steel Block Narrow Spacing 6 Point Vintage Style Steel Block Narrow Spacing
Pickups 3 White 6 pole piece Alnico 3s middle reverse wound 2 Black 6 pole piece Alnico 3s and Black Atomic HB
Pickguard White 11 screw laminated with White controls White 11 screw laminated with Black Controls
Frets 22 Jumbo 22 Jumbo
Other Features Greasebucket Tone Circuit, Blank Neckplate, No microtilt Greasebucket Tone Circuit, Blank Neckplate, No microtilt

Colours

SSS HSS
2007 3 Colour Sunburst, Black, Daphne Blue, Blonde or Midnight Wine 3 Colour Sunburst, Black or Midnight Wine
2008 3 Colour Sunburst, Black, Blonde or Midnight Wine 3 Colour Sunburst, Black or Midnight Wine
2009 3 Colour Sunburst, Black, Blonde or Midnight Wine 3 Colour Sunburst, Black or Midnight Wine
2010 3 Colour Sunburst, or Black 3 Colour Sunburst, or Black
2011 3 Colour Sunburst, or Black 3 Colour Sunburst, or Black

   
The Version 2

An interesting HSS FSR

American Special

Launched in 2010 appearing in the Frontline of that year alongside the Highway 1s. SS and HSS models were available. Model no longer available in 2019 there is a model called American Performer which is the modern equivalent but with the new Fender Yosemite alnico 4 pickups and an extra option to have neck always on giving a couple of extra options similar to the way Burns have always done.






Specifications

SSS HSS
Headstock Large 2 String Trees Large 2 String Trees
Body Alder Gloss Urethane Finish Alder Gloss Urethane Finish
Neck C Shaped 9.5" radius Maple with Maple Board Satin Finish C Shaped 9.5" radius Maple with Rosewood Board Satin Finish
Bridge 6 pt Vintage Style Trem with Narrower spacing 6 pt Vintage Style Trem with Narrower spacing
Pickups 3 White Covered Single coil Texas Specials 2 Black Covered Texas Special Single Coils and Black Atomic Humbucker
Pickguard White 11 Screw Laminated Plastic with White Controls White 11 Screw Laminated Plastic Black Controls
Frets 22 Jumbo 22 Jumbo
Other Features No Microtilt Blank Neckplate Greasebucket tone circuit No Microtilt Blank Neckplate Greasebucket tone circuit


Colours
At launch in 2010 the SSS was offered in Candy Apple Red or 2 Colour Sunburst and The HSS in 3 Colour Sunburst or Black. In 2013 Surf Green was addded to the SSS and Candy Apple Red to the HSS. For some reason in 2015 both Sunbursts were temporarily dropped.
In January 2017
I can only speak for what is available in the UK which is that both models now have options of Rosewood or Maple boards in convoluted combinations which are:
The SSS 2 Colour Sunburst with Maple or Rosewood, Sonic Blue with Rosewood or Olympic White with Maple.
The HSS 3 Colour Sunburst with Maple or Rosewood, Black with Maple or Olympic White with Rosewood

   
An SSS in Surf Green one in Sunburst and an HSS in Olympic White


Pricing
In January 2017 these are showing a recommended price in the UK of £939 although they are being sold at around £850 by Thomann, this compares to the new American Professional at £1399.

A word about available colours
I have shown what colours were available at different times for Highway 1s and American Specials if you see one in other colours it doesn't mean it isn't genuine, there are lots of FSRs and short runs of colours which never appear in catalogues.

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