Gale Banks: a Legend Among Gas and Diesel Truck Enthusiasts

By: Matthew Rimcrest

Gale Banks is a gearhead, die-hard enthusiast, and a leader in the automotive community. With over 50 years of experience working on gasoline and diesel engines, he is a valuable resource for anyone looking to extract more power out of their car or truck engine. He is best known for his Banks Monster Exhaust systems and the Banks Bullet power programmer. These parts are made for a large variety of vehicles and are custom made to work seamlessly with the car or truck, requiring no modification for installation.

It was Jay Leno, the late night talk show host and world renowned car enthusiast, who had the original idea to put a 1,790 cubic inch V-12 engine from a Korean-war era M47 Patton tank into a car. It was a marriage of Frankenstein proportions, but it wasn't crazy enough for Mr. Leno. Many people would ask, isn't 810 horsepower enough for a street car? Jay Leno didn't seem to think so and felt that twin-turbo charging the engine would deliver the level of insanity he was seeking. For this reason, Jay contracted Gale Banks of Gale Banks Engineering for his personal advice and expertise in producing his one-off Tank Car. After much research, trail and error, and fabrication, Gale was able to create one of the most ludicrous machines ever made by man. To sum up the modifications made to the M47 Tank engine, Banks added to the mix an entirely new exhaust system, a revised intake manifold, twin turbochargers, and a built from the ground up fuel system to make this V-12 monster push out more than 1600 horses and over 3000 foot-pounds of torque! Due to the excessive wheel spin and to make the car more street-able, the car was tuned down to around 1200 horsepower. Needless to say, Jay Leno is overly pleased with the results of his absolutely mad concoction. He is also proud to comment that not only has Gale significantly improved the power output, but also the fuel economy!

Project Sidewinder is another one of Gale Banks side ventures into diesel performance. Project Sidewinder is the fastest diesel pickup truck in the world, pushing out quarter-mile times as low as 12.16 seconds at 115 miles per hour! To produce the 735 hp and 1300 lb-ft of torque, Banks had to make several modifications to the stock system. Some of the major additions include ram air ducting, an improved cooling system, new fuel rails and fuel pump, extensively modified cylinder heads, and a Holset Variable Geometry Turbocharger (VGT). The VGT is a particularly important choice for getting quick quarter-mile times as it allows the turbocharger to maximize boost created for any given RPM range. It does this by changing the angle of incidence of the turbines to minimize turbo lag and backpressure. This in turn minimizes the time it takes to spool the turbo and maximizes boost across the RPM band. Variable Geometry Turbines are a relatively new advancement in turbocharger technology and are proving to give many the extra edge in performance they need to win races and take home the prize. In fact, VGT is one of the latest technologies that Porsche has incorporated into their 911 Turbo to help keep it in the forefront of the ultra competitive battle for the top supercar.

Click on these links for more information about Gale Banks, Banks Exhaust, or Banks Bullet.

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