Big-Block Crystal Ball
I read that gas prices might hit $6 by the end of the year. Whether they do or not, I'm worried about the future value of my '93 Chevy SS 454 pickup. The truck has low miles (a little over 30,000) and is in excellent condition. It's black with the red cloth interior. The only nonoriginal parts are the tires. I'm the second owner of the truck, and I have all of the original paperwork. I only drive it on sunny days. Since I don't drive it on a daily basis, I'm not terribly worried about gas prices. The fuel economy of the SS 454 has never been very good. My average mileage is around 12 mpg.

Since this was a special truck and mine is the last year of production, I was hoping it would be a good investment. I'm not hoping for L88 Corvette money, but I hoped it would beat banks and the stock market. What I'm wondering about is your opinion of this truck's future worth. Do you think I should get out now before gas prices go even higher, or do you think I should hold on to the truck?
Gary Carlson
via e-mail

If we were any good at forecasting collector-vehicle trends, we wouldn't have sold our aluminum-body '64 Dodge A/FX factory race car or our low-mileage Shelby GT350 or our super-low-mileage Boss 302 or our Charger, Challenger, SS 396 Camaro... you get the picture.

The current drastic spikes in fuel prices have definitely put a focus on fuel economy. That's not good for people trying to sell big-block 4x4 3/4-ton Suburbans, but on the other hand it's a buyer's market if you want a big, powerful truck or SUV.

We think the saving graces for your SS 454 are its originality, low mileage, pristine condition, and relative rarity as the last of the breed. We think there will always be a good market for the best examples of any collectible car or truck. In these cases, the value is more about condition and rarity than practical matters such as fuel economy or load capacity.

Your truck does have the advantage of the four-speed overdrive transmission that boosted fuel economy a whole 1 mpg over the '90 first-year SS 454 trucks with their three-speed automatics. We say keep the truck.

The Titanic
I have an '06 Nissan Titan pickup with the V-8 engine and automatic transmission. I'm looking for a little more horsepower and hopefully better fuel economy. Would a high-performance exhaust system be a good choice? Do you know of a system for my truck? Thank you.
Ed Trinka
via e-mail

A high-performance exhaust system is an excellent first step for anyone wanting more horsepower and improved fuel economy along with a more powerful sound. There is a quality system for your truck made by Corsa Performance (www.corsaperformance.com). It's a stainless steel system with 3-inch mandrel-bent pipes, 3-inch high-flow mufflers, and twin 4-inch polished stainless exhaust tips. The part number for your truck is 14580. Corsa says you can expect up to 13 additional horsepower, up to 16 lb-ft more torque, and improved fuel economy.