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Fender's carbon fiber Stratocaster 1 is a souped-up, built-for-speed six-string

Fender has unveiled the Stratocaster 1, a Custom Shop design created in collaboration with Saleen Automotive.

The new electric guitar, the inaugural release from Fender’s annual Prestige Collection, is modeled after the 2020 Saleen 1 sports car. 

The design is the brainchild of Fender Principal Master Builder Ron Thorn, who describes himself in the accompanying video – the debut episode of the new Dream Factory series – as a guitar nerd who’s also “a little car crazy.”

Mirroring the Saleen 1’s carbon fiber body, the Stratocaster 1 features a back and sides constructed of a carbon fiber shell. There’s also a 3/4-inch thick hand-carved maple top finished in a Candy Apple Red using the same five-stage process Saleen employs to paint its cars.

Other features include a quartersawn roasted maple neck and three-ply carbon fiber fretboard and headcap. Additionally, the neck, pickup, bridge and tailpiece are mounted to a roasted alder center core.

(Image credit: YouTube/Fender)

Thorn also added a few ingenious touches to the guitar, including a “tinted glass window” cover for the pickup, which references the fact that the Saleen 1’s engine can be seen through the car’s rear window.

Furthermore, Thorn designed the body to be free of volume and tone knobs, out of concern that mounting them to the body would “break up the lines.”

Rather, he relocated the controls to a pedalboard. “In lieu of an acceleration pedal, brake pedal and clutch pedal, it’s a volume pedal, a tone pedal and a wah-wah pedal, laid out like a foot box in a car,” Thorn says.

“It was a great opportunity to stretch out on guitar building,” Thorn says. “It’s the perfect platform and right in my wheelhouse – pardon the pun.”

You can check out the very cool Stratocaster 1 in the video above. And for more information, head over to Fender (opens in new tab).

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Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.