Much is said about the "good old days" of guitar manufacturing. The words, "They don't make them like they used to" have become a rallying cry for enthusiasts everywhere. What I find amazing is how, through the magic of time, almost any guitar 40 years old is considered to be superior to what is made today (and worth a ton of money).
I remember the "good old days”, when CBS owned Fender. I bought a new black Strat in 1975. My local dealer let me buy it using installment payments.
Leo must have been ashamed of what bore his name. The finish on this guitar may have been as thick as a nickel! But even then you could easily see the seams where the multiple pieces of wood used to build the body were joined. The angled base "F" tuners were junk and the pickups were hopelessly anemic. The most dismaying feature was the neck joint. There was so much play in the joint that I wedged a Fender "Thin" pick on each side of the neck to keep it from shifting.
I'm not saying everything Fender built at that time was junk. My point is, when judging the quality of a guitar, we should use our ears and hands, not a calendar.