I have listed this straight from the 'other' bass forum, but feel it's good information and I'm sure the original poster won't mind his knowledge being shared.
Posted by Dave Ryan, who was part of the 'Skunkworks' team in the 80's.
I see a lot of strange things from time to time. As with all popular things, esp guitars & amps, there are a lot of myths & rumors out there. I wanted to give a little insight to the begining of Ampeg as it relates to the SLM erra of the "Harley Davidson" of bass amps, I was there.
I started working @ SLM Electronics in 1985, I was the line assembly supervisor in the "Skunk Works" re-issue project.
SLM Inc purchased the rights to Ampeg 1986. When we bought the company there wasn't much left. 2 tractor trailer loads of misc parts, documents & some amplifiers.
There were about 50 unfinished MTI SVT-HDs & 100 MTI V-5s & some misc units, a couple of V-4s, some V-3s, a VT-40 etc...
What SLM decided to do was build up any stock we had & get it on the market ASAP. So we built cabinets for the SVT-HDs chassis, we used the "Skunk Works" cabinets as we did not see the advantage of having to build 50 MTI style cabs, then building 500 SW cabinets.
They were also missing back plate panels, so we used the "SW" panels that say "Made in America by SLM Inc 1400 Ferguson Ave". This had lead a lot of people to believe, later on down the road, that these are "SW" SVTs, they are not. They were assembled by SLME from left over MTI chassis. Myself & the chief engineer put these 50 SVTs together, biased & tested them, out the door they went.
The 100 V-5s we had, were converted to bass amps by changing the preamp slightly, we had new face plates made for them to reflect the new model # [those were usually the only differences between Ampeg's guitar & bass amps anyway]
We named them SVT-100s
We did this very quickly to get Ampeg's name back in the main stream. Marketing started a campaign blitz in all the music magazines world wide to let everyone know SLM owns Ampeg & Ampeg is back.
This kept the pubic busy for several months while we annexed some office space in our new 45,000 sq ft building, recently purchased for production of all SLM products. We tooled up & did all the wire preps, established our testing procedures, recruited personal from the assembly line in the factory & away we went.
Everything was made in house. Woodshop made all the cabs, Engineering, Tolex, Chassis Assembly Test, Electronic assembly, Wave Solder, Wire preps, Customer Service, all under one roof. It took us about 9 to 10 months to complete the run of 500. Most of these were sold before they were made.
The "Skunk Works" SVT-HDs were the first American made Ampeg's since Magnavox owned them in the 70's.
There was NO "post MTI, pre SLM Skunk Works" SVT's. There is no such thing, they do not exist.
So in my 23 years here I am not aware of any "rare jems". The only thing I can think of is the confusing 50 MTI SVT-leftovers we assembled & the 100 SVT-100's
What ever else you hear to the contrary is rumor, speculation & myth. If you have the Ampeg history book, [dont know the page #] look at the picture of the Skunk Works crew. I am the guy in the front row on the left, behind me is George McKale, engineer, to the far right front row was the man who made Crate, Audio Centron & Ampeg huge players in the music industry, John Karpowitz. He died some years ago from cancer. He was the driving force behind SLM Electronics in the 70's 80's & 90's
It was an exciting time @ SLM for a 26 y/o young aspiring bass player, it is only in the last 10 years or so I realized the importance of what we did, & how it impacted the music industry. It was a lot of fun & the moral & energy was indescribable. Everyone did the best they could & I believe SLM engineers did a great job of not only bringing back the Ampeg name, but to go way beyond that with a complete full line of tube & solid state amplifiers that set the standard for several years to come & put Ampeg back on the map.