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.

C10 Unibody
I'm a die-hard Chevy truck fan, but I can't help being attracted to some Fords. In particular, I'm fascinated by the '61-'63 Ford F-100 Styleside integral-cab pickups. I've seen many full-custom versions, and they look so slick with their unibody styling. I was wondering how much trouble it would be to make my '71 Chevy C10 Fleetside shortbed look like a unibody truck?

Could I just fill the gap between the bed and cab with sheetmetal and be good to go? Would I have problems with flexing? Any advice or information would be greatly appreciated.
Neil Rohr
via e-mail

You can make your C10 look like a unibody truck. We've seen it done, and the results were impressive. It's one of those modifications that many casual observers miss, but the guys who know '67-'72 GM pickups really do double takes when they see it.

We've seen it done where a traditional Fleetside bed was joined to the cab. We've also seen it where a half-cab '69-'72 Blazer was made to look like a shortened unibody pickup. Obviously, you're hoping to do the former.

It is possible to have problems where the extended bedsides are welded to the cab, but if you do most of your driving on relatively smooth roads, do your best to avoid big potholes, take speed bumps slowly, use a minimum of body filler, and don't install hydraulics for hopping, you should be OK.

If you're concerned about flexing at the joint, you could fudge the look by extending the bedside to just short of touching the cab. You could make the gap as tight as 1/8 inch, just so there is some room for movement. If you painted your truck a dark color, the gap would be very hard to discern until you were right on top of it.

You also need to make the front panel of the bed flush with the back of the cab. You could weld a panel between the bed and the cab, or you could also leave a super-small gap as with the sides of the bed. Adding additional crossmembers to the chassis will keep flex to a minimum, which is important for keeping the bed and cab from moving independently of each other and tweaking the added sheetmetal.

Door Number One Or Door Number Two?
What's the difference between a panel truck and a sedan delivery? If a sedan delivery has rear side windows, does that make it a station wagon? Do all sedan deliveries have a single rear door?
Peter Hess
via e-mail

The simple answer is that a panel truck is based on a pickup chassis, and a sedan delivery is based on a passenger car/station wagon platform. Sedan deliveries are station-wagon size and noticeably smaller than panel trucks. Panel trucks have two rear doors; sedan deliveries have one rear door (the '40-'41 Plymouth sedan deliveries are a notable exception with their dual rear doors).

Sedan deliveries can have side windows but not often. Some small ambulances had odd side windows, and some postal sedan deliveries supposedly had side windows. Some panels also had odd add-on side windows.

The key to most sedan deliveries is their unique one-piece rear door. These doors were either hinged at the top or side hinged. Falcon sedan deliveries used a station-wagon tailgate with a roll-down rear glass. A two-part tailgate/liftgate rear door is usually a sign of a converted station wagon. Panel trucks have two side-hinged barn doors.

Can I Get A Tow?
I own an '01 Chevy S-10 LS Extended Cab V-6 Vortec. I currently have a 2/3 drop with 18s. I was looking to purchase a fullsize in order to haul my '51 Ford F-1, but with rising gas prices I quit the search. I was wondering, can an S-10 handle the weight load of the F-1 on a trailer? If not, what modifications could be made, or would I just be better off buying the fullsize and paying extra gas money?
Cdt. Nolan Martin
United States Military Academy

Your truck has a maximum towing capacity of 5,200 pounds. Your F1 has a curb weight of between 3,025 and 3,065 pounds, depending on whether it's equipped with the original six- or eight-cylinder engine. Add in 1,800-2,500 pounds for the lightest 16-foot car trailers commonly sold today and you've got a gross load of 5,565 pounds. Could you haul this load with your S-10? Yes. Should you do it? We'd advise against it. On flat ground with no crosswinds coming at you, your mini-truck will probably do the job. But out on the open highway, we'd say it's a recipe for disaster. Anytime the load being towed is at or near the curb weight of the vehicle pulling it, you've got to worry about stopping or worse, getting blown off the side of the road. We suggest towing with a fullsize truck with a towing capacity that's at least 10-percent higher than the load it's saddled with. Hope this helps.

We Stand Corrected
I thought you might like to point out to your readers that while Jason Riner's truck is labeled as a '53 ("Calling Card," June '08), the cab is actually a '54. You can tell because Chevrolet redesigned the trucks with a one-piece windshield instead of a two-piece, and it restyled the dash. Also, Chevrolet doubled up in 1955 on body styles-a first and second series.
Jared McCulloch
via e-mail

Where Can I Get
I need a low-profile tonneau cover for a Stepside Chevy C10. The box is a '73-'87 style but my truck is an '86 model. I can't find one. Can you help me get one, please? Also, can I install power windows in my truck? It has cranks now.
Enrique Huerta
via e-mail

You can find a low-pro bedcover by visiting www.checkerpro.com. Power window conversions are available from quite a few of our advertisers. LMC Truck, Spal, Brothers, and Classic Industries all offer the parts to convert your manual doors. And if you want to get rid of the vent windows, One Piece Products can sell you a one-piece power window conversion as well.

Gimme A Job!
Hey guys, jw who, how, and what someone would have to do to be a photographer/editor for your magazine ? its one of my favorites.

love trucks, bikes, and photography...currently use a canon 40d to shot pix with....live in ohio, but willing to relocate....building a 92 chevy dually bodydropped with semi wheels currently currently work as a LPN at summit county jail, but wanna go future with something that i love to do. scott

Given that a major portion of an editor's job responsibilities includes editing, the first thing you should do is learn to use the spelling and grammar check programs built into your computer when soliciting employment.

Now that we've got that out of the way, you should put together a resume and portfolio of your work that you can submit to prospective employers. Breaking into the magazine business is no different than any other industry. You just need to present yourself and your skills to employers until you find that one that wants to hire you.

Got Something To Say?
E-mail your letters to mike.finnegan@sourceinterlink.com, or send them to:Sport Truck Mail, 2400 E. Katella Ave, Ste. 700, Anaheim, CA 92806.

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