For old guitars we can only know the exact data reading the ESP warranty card (when there is), or unscrewing the neck and read under it (sometimes theres the data write on pencil), and keep record of this data in order to try to deduce other correspondences.Fender American Vintage Reissue Stratocasters have serial numbers that begin at V000001 in 1982 and are now approaching V200000 in 2008.Each American Reissue Stratocaster that left the factory had one of these V serial numbers stamped into the neckplate.Unfortunally ESP didn't keep good records of old serial numbers.
A possible explanation is that Fender just had a large box filled with neckplates and thus placed on guitars in a semi-random fashion.Of course, the box would not contain 10,000 neckplates but rather a couple thousand at the most.As a general rule of thumb, serial numbers can be used to denote a year range for a particular guitar. As a broad generality V000001-V004000 denote a 1982 guitar, V004000-V010000 denote a 1983 guitar, and V010000-V016000 denotes a 1984 guitar.A few popular books state that the serial numbers re-started with V0000001 when the new Corona, Ca factory opened. If you look at my fullerton inventory, you can see that this is just a broad generality.From my experience, any serial number below V016000 denotes a guitar made at the fullerton plant (1982-1984).
Of course, there are exceptions to this generalization.