Take Five With Gale Banks

Hot Rod May 2014

by David Kennedy

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 of old war stories and faded time slips; a guy with a garage piled high with ’32 Ford parts and carbureted small-blocks. Yet when you meet the man you learn his passion is cutting-edge technologies he looks to bring to market in the near future.

The daily bread of Gale Banks Engineering has been big-block motorhomes and diesel pickups for the last two decades. But that’s not Gale Banks’s whole story. He’s built everything from Bonneville cars to semitrucks, and road racers to Humvees. The man has a twin-turbo solution for nearly every problem.

We sat down with Gale over a series of 7:00 a.m. “Breakfast with Banks” meetings to bench race and discovered that while he’s a health-conscious guy, the man knows great places to find grub. Between cups of coffee we learned about his unified theory of performance, the V8-shaped house he’s been building in Yosemite, California, and how his friend Jay Leno taught him you can figure out what products young guys are going to be into by knowing what young girls are into–and helping said guys to impress said girls.

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