Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum

DRIVE! June 2009

“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 few of his contemporaries were younger when they began trying to earn a living in it. It was at the tender age of 14 that Banks attacked the engine in his mother’s 1931 Model A Ford. The end result of his efforts saw an increase of more than 40 hp to the notoriously underpowered car.

Now, some 50 years later, the Banks name has become synonymous with diesel power, and his many accomplishments is the subject of the latest exhibit at the Auto Club Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum.

Titled: “Banks Power: The First 50 Years,” the very thorough exhibit contains memorabilia from the Banks long career and features items ranging from late ‘50s to the record-holding Sidewinder diesel dragster.

Banks first opened his entrepreneurial doors in 1958 in Lynwood, California, and quickly made a name for himself as a person who could get things done and done quickly. Since that time, Banks has remained the hands-on president, which has landed him in charge of a 200- employee-strong manufacturing and engineering complex that today occupies 12 acres in the San Gabriel Valley town of Azusa, California.

Banks has been in the winner’s circle countless times, setting a litany of diesel-powered marine, automotive and, yes, even the motorhome land-speed records and national championships. Some of the titles that Banks holds include World’s Fastest Passenger Car, World’s Fastest Pickup, Offshore National Championship and, laugh if you will, he is the title holder of The World’s Fastest Motorhome.

On display are many items from Banks’ career and a few of the vehicles that he and his crew have built and competed in. All of this and much more is on display until September 2009, so if you are a fan of diesel power, or simply a fan of fast vehicles and cool racing, and performance-related memorabilia, this is an exhibit that you don’t want to miss.   For more information, contact the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum.


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