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

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 ...
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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 ...
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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
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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
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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“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 ...
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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.  By Kevin Smith Staff Writer 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 ...
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“BANKS POWER – THE FIRST 50 YEARS” OPENS AT WALLY PARKS NHRA MUSEUM – POMONA, CA

  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 ...
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