I just finished reading an article in the May 2005 issue of Four Wheeler magazine entitled “Rage Against the Machine.” Awesome! Robin Stover details the success of Kent Kroeker’s virtually stock Dodge truck in the 2004 Baja 1000 (http://www.koreperformance.com). Check out this preview article on Four Wheeler online: (http://www.fourwheeler.com/brandpages/129_0411_500/) This adventure impresses me for many reason’s, but I think I just love to absorb as much off-road racing as I can, and this article offers a healthy dose of it.
I said in an earlier blog that I was a Ford guy. Today I think I am changing my identity a bit. I think I am starting to consider myself a Diesel guy. I drive a gas-powered F-150 every day and keep thinking about what my fuel costs are going to be this summer. I would sure love to have a small diesel-powered car to commute with. Unfortunately being in California, it doesn’t look like that will be available to me anytime soon.
A little while ago, I wrote in my first blog that we get our hands on some really neat, future stuff. A good example from the past was the powerplant for our Sidewinder Dakota truck. You know… that little red pickup that ended up smashing a number of speed records and went 222 m.p.h.? Well, that engine was a ’03 common-rail Cummins that we just so happened to get in 2001 from the Cummins Skunkworks for our project.
So my pal, Peter Treydte comes into the office this past Monday morning and loudly declares, “Hey Tim, you’re no longer a diesel virgin.” We all laughed. It’s true though. I drove a bone-stock cherry red 2005 Ford F-250 crew cab 4×4 Power Stroke turbodiesel over three hundred miles last weekend. It was a great experience and one that truly changed any preconceived notions I had that modern diesels were still big, klunky and slow.
As I stated in a previous blog, I’m a hot rodder. I build street machines. Cars. Not trucks. In fact, the only trucks I’ve ever owned were two $500 trucks that helped me move and each time, I sold the truck right after.
One of the things that I like doing sometime during the workweek is to wander through the Banks Race Shop. It is really an amazing place. I can’t think of any other place in the world where I could find high-flow intake manifolds for diesel engines being developed, turbochargers being mounted on a V-12 tank engine and a one-of-a-kind diesel road race truck being built from the ground up… oh and by the way, just a few feet away is the world’s fastest pickup truck powered by a Cummins ISB engine.
A few of us here at Banks are stoked to be going on Hot Rod’s Power Tour this coming June. I’ve been threatening to go on Power Tour since they started it. What is it nine years already? Anyway, this was the year I was going to do the long haul in my ’63 Biscayne. Of course, I’d need to change its 4.56 gears to something a little more highway friendly. But, that’s easy.
Have you ever heard a sound that gave you goose bumps just by hearing it? Ever since I was a kid that magic tone for me was that of a turbine whine. To me it just sounds like power incarnate. I mean…what’s more powerful sounding than a jet taxiing and taking off? That is the sound that suckered me into buying my first turbocharged car: the underrated Merkur XR4Ti. I like my vehicles to be different, and this one sure fit the bill. Aside from looking like the forbidden love child of Saab and a Ford Escort, it had a blown Pinto 2.3 liter engine that whined louder than a dentist’s drill. Turbo lag was BIG, but when it finally built up the power its demeanor turned from that of a timid koala bear to a raging donkey and squished my unassuming passengers deep into their seats. Sweeeet!
I’m a typical hot rodder. I build hot car after hot car. And of course, every one of them has been gasoline-powered. What else is there?
Well, how about diesel? After coming to work at Banks, my old ideas about high performance changed. All you have to do is drive one hot rodded turbodiesel pickup truck and you’ll understand. Turbodiesels can really haul $%&! In fact, I’ve been in some daily-driven trucks lately that could beat many so-called musclecars. And these trucks typically weigh 7,000 lbs.!
Just the other day, I was fueling my vehicle at a service station. While I was there, the station attendant emerged with a handful of numbers to change the posted fuel prices. He didn’t change the gasoline prices, only the #2 diesel. It went up 4 cents per gallon. At that station, #2 diesel was then selling for 6 cents a gallon more than 91-octane premium gasoline, and 22 cents a gallon more than 87-octane regular gasoline. I remember thinking, that’s nuts!
I’m sitting in my office waiting for the guys from WyoTech to arrive. This morning, I get to put something back into the diesel industry. I volunteered to work with WyoTech on the development of a light-duty diesel curriculum (with a high-performance overlay, of course).
We’re talking diesel pickups. There are now millions of them. The opportunity is huge for a young student as the demand is only going to get larger.