I wish I could say that I figured all this out on my own.
While doing research on Fender amps in general, and the Champ in particular, I came across the most amazing series of articles by Greg Gagliano on the subject. If you have any interest in vintage Fender tube amps, without question you’ve got to read them all.
(the one in question is s/n 0073) My best guess is that it's 1994... You probably won't end up with a "birthday", though... Welllllllllll ok is there some way other then writing to fender to date this thing (pluueeze no witty jokes, I am married, and my wife would not understand). Anybody know at least where to point me to find out when this puppy was made, aside from maybe looking at the tone caps,??
There are a few models that don't have the letter prefix (Vibro-King is the only modern one that I'm aware of...) I emailed Fender's customer support about the same time that I posted this thread, and they got back to me in less than 48h (props to Fender).
The cream-colored board is laid out entirely differently (and better) than the green board. But the old ones sound darker, while the new ones are brighter, with more emphasis on treble tones.
One is not necessarily better than the other; the dark tones are nice for blues and jazz, while the new amps do brighter tones better.
The codes are usually handwritten, and the letters can occasionally be hard to decipher. There is no reliable way to date 2003-2005 amps other than to ask Fender customer support to look up the date from the serial number, although you may find a date code on the speaker.You may compare these with your own speakers to determine what you have.Another method of dating a tweed Fender Champ is by serial number.Eventually, I thought, I'll get a rough idea what the highest and lowest s/ns were.
Subtract one from the other and I'll have a rough-cut figure for how many were made. PRII owners were kind enough to start sending their serial numbers in.On my 1959 tweed Champ amplifier, the serial number is located right in front of the fuse cap.