This lap steel dates to the first year of the Champ, with a design aligned with Fender’s professional Stringmaster steel guitar range at the time. While Fender’s earlier ‘Champion’ lap steel that ran from 1949 to 1955 used a modified Telecaster pickup, the Champ pickup is essentially a first edition Stratocaster flat pole pickup inside a black rather than white plastic cover. Other features are the integrated pickguard/tailpiece/bridge cover and the strong metal tuner tray. Unlike some Champs, this one does not have a pencilled date under the patent chromed metal tuner tray (we looked) but its untouched pots are interesting, with code 304 (Stackpole) 54 (year) 1(week) . January 1954 pot codes suggest a very early Champ, emerging from Fullerton at the same time as the earliest Stratocasters. This is a totally original instrument, including its pickup and electronics, patent tuner tray, bridge assembly with hinged cover and Desert Sand nitro finish. Comes with its original tweed case also in excellent condition, as shown. A historic lap steel with classic features and fantastic tone.