Company History

More than sixty 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 San Gabriel. He remains the hands-on president to the manufacturing and engineering complex that today occupies 12 acres in the San Gabriel Valley town of Azusa.

Banks Power is known far and wide as the premier designer and manufacturer of power-enhancing products for diesel- and gas-powered light trucks, motorhomes, and sport-utility vehicles. Since the 1960s, Gale’s futuristic high-performance engines have broken new ground while shattering world records. Banks Power is still the only company to have set records at Bonneville in both automobile and truck classes. Banks’ marine engines propelled racing boats to national and world championships.

In his quest for greater engine performance and endurance, Gale continued his racing endeavors, setting his first speed record, 189 mph in 1960 at El Mirage dry lake, with a modified 1953 Studebaker. Since then, Gale has been in the winner’s circle countless times, setting a litany of marine and automotive performance marks and laying claim to such titles as World’s Fastest Passenger Car, World’s Fastest Pickup, World’s Fastest Motorhome, and, most recently, World’s Fastest Diesel Drag Racing Truck.

The bedrock integrity of Gale Banks is at the very core of Banks Power. Gale’s fundamental principles combine old-fashioned business ethics and service with leading technology, elegantly engineered products, superior construction, scientifically proven performance, and competitive prices.

In military mode, Banks engines were chosen to power U.S. Navy SEAL covert-action boats. Banks Technologies, a Gale Banks Engineering division, was awarded the contract to supply Oshkosh Defense with its V8 diesel 866T engine to power all Joint Light Tactical Vehicles.

As a recognized authority, Gale has taught engine design to graduate students at General Motors Institute, covering many subjects: engine architecture, turbochargers (design and application), fuel systems, exhaust systems, marine turbocharging, ignitions and camshafts, intercooling, and more.

The Banks company history is studded with technological achievements, including Gale’s pioneering work in turbocharging marine engines in 1969; the premiere of twin-turbo small-block Chevy engines in 1978; the invention (and patent) of the Banks OttoMind electronic fuel-management module in 1997; transmission control systems, exhaust scavenging systems, and the recent invention (and patent) of the iDash DataMonster, the only instrument to calculate, log and display an exclusive suite of engine parameters including Manifold Air Density.

Banks prides itself on being a company of engineers who see the future, pin the accelerator pedal, and aim right toward it.

“I’m a futurist. My entire career has been about what’s next. Through the decades, we at Banks have opened new markets in marine engines, turbocharging, truck and motorhome power systems, turbocharged tuner cars, diesel power systems, electronic tuners, and exhaust brakes. Plus, I’m proud to have worked for many major car and engine manufacturers in defining their future products.” — Gale Banks