Damn Greg, you just completely destroyed Robert Comsol
Really? He just rehashed an old argument to which I had already replied
last Christmas in the "N.C.C." thread.
Apparently there do exist starships of a "Constitution Class" but there is no evidence that Enterprise
belongs to these.
On the contrary, Matt Jefferies' statement that the Enterprise
was "the first bird, the first in the series" strongly suggests she is the class leader of the "Enterprise Class" and "Enterprise Class" is mentioned twice in the original Making of Star Trek
(no mentioning of a "Constitution Class" but mentioning that USS Constitution
was one of the last
names considered as a name for a starship!).
Since there are starships whose prefix begins with "16" and according to Jefferies these would be the 16th design series, add to this Greg Jein (and TOS-R) identified these to look identical to the Enterprise
(possibly after some kind of refit) there's no good reason not to assume these belong to the actual "Constitution Class".
Where things get muddled are the movies. For ST II Nicholas Meyer considered the refit Enterprise
to belong to the "Enterprise Class" (simulator sign) while the Enterprise
in ST VI belonged to the "Constitution Class" (Scotty's "blueprint").
If "Constitution Class" became a colloquialism for starships of similar designs in later times, I have no problems with corresponding remarks from Captain Picard in "Relics".
However, I do have problems when the TOS Enterprise
is referred to as "Constitution Class" as if it were
an established fact - which it isn't, especially in light of the original creator's (Matt Jefferies) and producers' (e.g. Bob Justman and Gene Roddenberry - since the MoST bears his name on the cover, too, the content is authorized by G.R.) intentions and from a strictly TOS point of view.
If you feel a fan fiction author like Franz Joseph understood these things better than the actual people who made Star Trek (strange, nobody complains that TOS-R didn't use Joseph's "17XX exclusive" starship numbering), so be it.