Who is Gale Banks?

To call Gale Banks an engineer would be an understatement, scientist would be a more accurate term. Those who have seen him work his magic with internal combustion and technology, mad scientist might even be more appropriate. As president of Gale Banks Engineering, an automotive aftermarket and performance equipment manufacturer, Gale Banks has spent more than a half a century improving internal combustion technology in the development of modern motor vehicle engines. As a teenager growing up near Los Angeles in the 50s, blessed with a talent for things mechanical, Gale Banks was naturally drawn to the Southern California Hot Rodders, the do-it-yourselfers who would race their machines in the desert, the dry lakes and the salt flats. It was all about power and speed, two characteristics that would define Gale Banks his whole life

Banks sold his first engine in 1958, as a 16-year old. He opened a speed shop so he could pay his tuition to California Polytechnic University.  His education was with equal parts in the classrooms and in the garage. He counts among his many mentors PhDs, government research scientists, even Nobel prize winners, plus a whole host of grease monkeys and car enthusiasts.

His development and promotion of his twin-turbocharging technique for both gas and diesel engines has made his name synonymous with high-performance, both on land and on water. Many vehicles of his design have set numerous national and international speed records.

Since 1976 Gale Banks Engineering has been involved in building and supplying engines and systems to defense contractors and directly to the Military, as well. Over those 38 years every military Gale Banks Engine has had one dominant feature; they’ve all been turbocharged. At first, their Twin Turbo, Intercooled Marine Engines, ran on gasoline, more recently, their marine and wheeled vehicle military applications all run Diesel. And, currently, the tactical military fuel requirement for all engines has moved to JP-8, high performance jet fuel.

Most of his company’s work on special fast attack marine engines for the Navy is still classified as are a few other such projects aimed at radically improving both the power and reliability of existing and new engine designs.

On the aftermarket side, Banks Power designs, manufacturers and markets cold air intake systems, turbochargers, intercoolers, electronic gas and diesel programmers, instrumentation, transmission controllers, exhaust systems, torque converters, and complete power systems for commercial and motor sport applications plus some interesting military applications that he will not discuss.

Banks holds eleven patents, hundreds of copyrights and received numerous industry commendations over the years. He has served on the board of the Specialty Equipment Market Association, advisory board of the Automotive X-Prize Foundation, and on the Board of Directors for the National Hot Rod Association Museum Board.

In December of 2008 the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, at the Pomona Fairplex, opened a special exhibit celebrating ‘The First 50 Years of Banks Power.” The exhibit takes up one full exhibit hall of the museum and features record-breaking Banks vehicles, engines, and a 65 foot long “timeline” which covers the highlights of Banks’ company from it’s earliest “one-man-shop” to the corporate entity that it now is.

In  March of 2009 Banks was honored with a Distinguished Service Citation from the Automotive Hall of Fame, a distinction that has been given annually since 1940. One of only five people to receive such recognition this year, he was also the first ever awardee from the aftermarket industry.

Today, Gale Banks Engineering is located in Azusa California on a 12-acre campus. He consults with various OEM companies on a variety of issues including turbocharging, fuel injection, engine efficiencies and clean burning alternative fuel technologies.

Latest News about Gale Banks

April Fools – Automotive legend Gale Banks in hot water with NASA!

Gale in court under false allegations for April Fools
U.S. Homeland Security descended on Azusa, California Friday to detain an automotive legend for questioning.
Read more

Boost Elbow Brilliance: Banks Monster Ram 6.7 Cummins Intake Install

Banks Monster-Ram for the 2007-17 Ram 6.7L Cummins
Factory intake elbows are restrictive and bottleneck the airflow to your engine. To prolong the life of your engine and maximize its performance, the aftermarket air intake is a great and cost-effective upgrade over stock. Enter the Banks Power Monster Ram intake elbow. What a percentage of truck enthusiasts don’t realize is, with only a few choice modifications, ...
Read more

Gale Speaks (at SEMA)

Gale Banks will be speaking at the SEMA Show Education Days, On Monday, October 30, 2017 at 2:30pm, Las Vegas Convention Center, Upper North Hall, Room N256 Already acknowledged as one of the “5 Must-Attend SEMA Show Education Sessions” Gale will present: “Building the Best Boosted Engines of Your Career”   Gale Banks, the “Godfather of Turbocharging,” will be teaching his new ...
Read more

Banks Powered OshKosh JLTV

The Humvee replacement is here, and it’s bad ass! This vehicle is the result of a years long design and test competition involving the biggest names in the defense and diesel engine industry. The Oshkosh JLTV has destroyed the competition. The staff at Banks Power, the exclusive engine supplier, has been deeply involved in the creation ...
Read more

Heavy Duty, High Performance

  Over the years, Rudolf Diesels creation has taken a back seat in the world of race engines to traditional spark ignition motors. Consigned in the main to heavy load-lugging and industrial applications, it 151 past 30 years that the racing world has begun to wv the true potential of compression ignition for competition use, the ...
Read more

Project Speed Bump

It’s no secret that the highly popular ’67-’72 shortbed Chevy C10s are drying up, getting both more expensive and harder to find in good shape. The longbeds of the era are also becoming pretty pricey, even in marginal condition. So what’s the next big thing in classic trucks? If recent industry trends are an indication, ...
Read more

Take Five With Gale Banks

Gale gets asked all sorts of questions, including what was the first car he hot rodded, what meeting Mickey Thompson was like, what he wants his legacy to be … As a 72-year-old hot rodder who grew up in Los Angeles during the adolescence of our industry, one might expect Gale Banks to be a man ...
Read more

Diesel Engine Mastermind Gale Banks Turning Talents Toward Class 8 Trucks

Gale Banks has had his way with everything from Model A’s to streamliners, and now he’s set his sights on improving the performance of big rigs. He’s been called the “master of turbochargers” and a “turbo and diesel guru.” And now – after masterminding more than 50 years of engineering milestones – Gale Banks is turning ...
Read more

Automotive legend has changed the face of the industry

Gale Banks makes front page news, talking about racing, the military, and what it took to get where he is. Gale Banks knows a thing or two about power. And to say he’s had a profound effect on the U.S. auto industry would be an understatement. His Azusa-based company, Gale Banks Engineering, is known for designing and selling ...
Read more

Gale Banks Comes Clean part 2

Gale’s thoughts on black smoke, DPF delete kits, and more. BACK IN THE LATE ’70s, PONTIAC ASKED me to do a turbo package for its Sunbird. That car had a four-cylinder, transverse-mounted engine in it. It was kind of an econo car. Click to read more
Read more

Gale Banks Comes Clean part 1

Spending a day with the iconic diesel legend reveals interesting thoughts on a variety of subjects. What’s going on with Banks and the military? Not a new question; we’ve been dealing with the military since 1976. They were looking at engines for their boats. Click to read more
Read more

100 Most Influential People in RV History

Celebrating the Inventors, Entrepreneurs and Visionaries Who — During the Past 100 Years — Made Lasting Contributions to the Inception, Growth and Success of the Business of Recreation. In the May/June 2010 issue of RV Business, Gale Banks was honored to be included on their list of people who have made a significant difference in the ...
Read more

Famed Hot Rodder Sees Opportunity in Clean Diesel Tech

From The New York Times: We sat down with Gale Banks and came away with a genuine hot-rodder’s perspective on the future of clean diesel engines and fuels. Courage. Determination. Perseverance. Persistence. They’re the words you see on those workplace posters, aimed at rallying the troops and inspiring residents of Office Space-type cubicles to put their ...
Read more

Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum

“Banks Power: The First 50 Years” is a very thorough exhibit containing memorabilia from the Banks long career and features items ranging from late ‘50s to the record-holding Sidewinder diesel dragster. AS WITH MANY OF the big-name companies in this industry, Gale Banks began his journey in much more humble surroundings than he enjoys now; but ...
Read more

“Banks Power – The first 50 years” Opens at Wally Parks NHRA Museum

50 years of automotive and marine engineering innovation was put on display at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum to honor Gale Banks and his achievements. It’s called the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum. Inside this 28,500-square-foot building are some of the most important pieces in drag racing as well as motorsports history. From early sllngshot ...
Read more

Gale Banks to be honored by Automotive Hall of Fame

Gale Banks set to receive the Automotove Hall of Fame’s 2009 Distinguished Service Citation in New Orleans. AZUSA – In the automotive world, few honors hold as much prestige as being inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame. Gale Banks, founder, president and CEO of Banks Power in Azusa, will earn that distinction on Sunday when he ...
Read more


Pomona, California – – On Wednesday, December 3, 2008, fifty years of automotive and marine engineering innovation was put on display at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, in Pomona, California. Pomona, California – – On Wednesday, December 3, 2008, fifty years of automotive and marine engineering innovation was put on display at the Wally Parks ...
Read more

NHRA exhibit chronicles 50 years of Azusa’s Gale Banks Engineering

POMONA – There were a lot of horses and a lot of power in a Fairplex museum on Wednesday. But it had nothing to do with a barn. That’s because 50 years of ramping up the internal combustion engine to make it go faster, longer and better went on display in the NHRA Wally Parks Motorsports ...
Read more

Museum exhibit a tribute to Banks’ long career

POMONA – Gale Banks calls himself a “futurist.” So, what is a futurist doing in a museum? POMONA – Gale Banks calls himself a “futurist.” So, what is a futurist doing in a museum? “I’m nailed,” he said with a laugh. “I’ve always been a futurist. I read science fiction when I was a kid. My first ...
Read more

Gale Banks Engineering pushes to make vehicles more powerful, fuel efficient

Gale Banks Engineering pushes to make vehicles more powerful, fuel efficient High fuel prices have many business owners worried about their rising expenses and customers who have far less money to spend. Then there is Gale Banks Engineering of Azusa, where the product line might be in even greater demand now than before. The company is part ...
Read more

Engineer Banks Strives To Sip Fuel, Burn Rubber

For the past 25 years, Gale Banks has been a prophet in the wilderness for the fuel efficiency of diesel engines. His business has always been in the drag strips, salt flats and gearhead garages of Southern California. But for the past 25 years, Gale Banks, CEO of Gale Banks Engineering, also has been a prophet ...
Read more

One On One With Gale Banks

Straight Talk With the Man Largely Identified as the Creator of the Diesel Aftermarket Gale Banks is a hot rodder from the word go and is just as involved today as he was 50 years ago when he founded the company. But long before that he was a gearhead, and until this day he remains a ...
Read more

Gale Banks — Always looking to the future

Over fifty years of engineering milestones for Banks Power president and founder Gale Banks began at age 14 with an engine teardown of his mother’s ’31 Ford Model A that resulted in an increase of 65 horsepower. Just two years later, in 1958, Gale was officially in the engine business, first in Lynwood, California, then in ...
Read more

Safe At Any Speed

When I started in 1958, all engine tuning was a mechanical enterprise. Today, especially in the diesel world, many tuners still rely on retro technology, but I’m not one of them. When I started in 1958, all engine tuning was a mechanical enterprise. Advance curve, point float, coil output, ignition timing, jet size—these were the bench-race ...
Read more

Azusa Firm Turns It Up A Notch

“I’m a futurist. It’s always about what’s next. We tend to engineer the automotive future.” – Gale Banks AZUSA – In the world of business, some entrepreneurs are forever mired in the here and now. In an effort to keep their companies afloat, their time is totally consumed by budgets, deadlines, customers expectations and the drive to ...
Read more

Forcing The Issue

Power Guru Gale Banks explains why superchargers are more prevalent than turbos among Mustang enthusiasts running a force induction system. Ever wonder why superchargers are much more prominent in Mustangs than turbochargers and that somehow you might have missed the boat on a key market niche? Both types of forced induction kits provide significant power increases, ...
Read more

Drivelines Chatter: Gale Banks, Gale Banks Engineering

Gale Banks knows how to make power, whether he’s land-speed racing or improving the performance of an anemic motorhome. (Editor’s note: Gale Banks knows how to make power, whether he’s land-speed racing or improving the performance of an anemic motorhome. Light-duty diesel truck engines are a big part of Banks’ business, so we asked him about ...
Read more

Engine Builder Does It Diesel

Could performance cars like Corvettes and Mustangs and others be powered by diesel engines in the future? They not only could be, but they would be if Gale Banks had his way. The Banks Engineering aftermarket products are clean, socially conscious,’ owner says in 49th year. Could performance cars like Corvettes and Mustangs and others be powered ...
Read more

Speed Demon

Speed Demon Puts Pedal to Metal on Alternative Fuel Gale Banks always had the need for speed. Whether hurtling 200 mph across the Bonneville Salt Flats in a test car or starting for Team Donahue 2005 in the Baja 1000, improving engine performance is always high on the agenda of the president and fonder of Gale Banks ...
Read more

Power Guru

50 Years of Fast Times and Weird Science with Gale Banks SoCal is a Petri dish for breeding subcultures, and in central L.A. County you’ll find holy ground for two of them. The flats surrounding Azusa were the original Mecca of drag racing, containing the legendary strips of Irwindale, San Gabriel and Pomona. Most are gone ...
Read more

The Toughest Terrain on the Planet

Gale Banks himself hits the dirt as a driver in the Baja 1000 We Race the Baja 1000 in a 6.0L Super Duty Editor’s Note:The Baja 1000 is the world’s most famous off-road race. It’s held every year in Mexico on the Baja peninsula, just south of San Diego, California. It’s a race that started as a ...
Read more

Jay to Gale: Hey, Can You Banks This?

Jay Leno’s tank car Gallery #2: Intake manifold construction The AV 1790 Hemi is an air cooled 90-degree V12 with cylinder banks over 50 inches long and a 42 inch width across the rocker covers. Because of Gale’s concern for thermal expansion in such a long engine, and for ease of manufacturing and assembly, we decided ...
Read more

Rough ‘N’ Ready…A Rat Rod With a Twin-Turbo

Imagine driving a 1,100 hp, Twin-Turbo sport truck This was no feverish dream, but one hell of an adrenaline-pumping ride for two incredible days. It all took place last spring after an invite from Gale Banks Engineering to join Hot Rod magazine’s Power Tour 2005. This event has been held once a year since 1995, crisscrossing the ...
Read more

Guys Talking Cars

Jay Leno talks about the Banks Gearhead Bash I love Gale Banks semiannual picnic, better known as the Gearhead Bash. I always tell my wife it’s the social event of the internal combustion season. In Hollywood, there might be bigger events, like the Emmys or the Oscars, but there are none as fun as this-especially for ...
Read more

Banks’ Twin-Turbo Sport Truck: It’s Alive!

Sport Truck’s Joe Pettitt takes some adrenaline-pumping 0-60 blasts in Banks Twin-Turbo test truck The reasoning for bringing the beast to life is to promote what Gale Banks Engineering is calling its “Back to the Future” Twin-Turbo systems. In short, the company has had these kits available before, but not with the advanced level of today’s ...
Read more

Gale Banks Engineering

Winning Systems for Trucks, SUVs & Motor Homes Although Gale Banks Engineering is one of many companies making performance exhaust systems, it takes a “systems approach” to improving horsepower, torque and fuel mileage for a niche market that includes gasoline- and diesel-powered light trucks, sport/utility vehicles and motor homes. Banks offers a variety of upgrades that ...
Read more

Chat with Gale Banks

Gale himself fields many Power & Performance questions during a live chat on Ford-Diesel.com JLester : Almost time … Gale Banks : We are here. JLester : Hey guys. I just posted the links for everyone else. PeterT : I logged in, but I don’t really intend to interject Gale Banks : As Homer Simpson says, “woo-hoo!” JLester : No one’s ...
Read more

Salt Shaker

Gale Banks Engineering’s 1988 Pontiac Trans Am is the World’s Fastest Street Machine By John Baechtel On a station somewhere near the three-mile marker you see it long before you hear it. Racing across the pure white horizon, a small red dot speeds crazily toward you, pursued by a pearlescent plume of salt spray. Then, like distant ...
Read more

1953 Studebaker

Banks modifies a 1953 Studebaker and achieves a World Record top speed of 184.52 mph Banks modifies a 1953 Studebaker and drives it to class records at El Mirage Dry Lake and the Bonneville Salt Flats with a top speed of 184.52 mph, as certified by the Southern California Timing Association. Gale Banks Engineering started as C.P. ...
Read more

Mom’s “Hot Rod”

14-year-old Gale Banks modifies Mom’s ‘31 Ford Model A from 40 to 105 hp Gale Banks begins his career as a hot rodder by modifying the engine in his mother’s car. Fifty years of engineering milestones for Banks Power president and founder Gale Banks began at age 14 with an engine teardown of his mother’s ’31 Ford ...
Read more