1984 – Banks builds Tuner Cars

Banks started the turbo tuner craze by building made-to-order super cars through a subsidiary company called American Turbocar Corporation. The company offered street-legal Camaros, Firebirds and Trans Am’s in a variety of powerful builds from mild-builds to the 700-horsepower configuration that graced the 1984 issue of Car and Driver. That vehicle not only had the power, but its tuned suspension was able to pull 1G lateral on the skid pad with street tires and was clocked at 204 mph (running with the air conditioning on of all things) by the magazine, with editor Csaba Csere behind the wheel.

It was the magazine’s first recorded streetcar to break the 200 mile an hour barrier. Mr. Csere wrote in his article: “The world’s fastest streetcar? At nearly 300 feet per second, the world looks as if it’s being shot at you from a cannon. Looking far into the distance doesn’t help much: objects barely in sight one instant are behind you the next. The scenery blurs as it approaches the car, miraculously spreading and flowing around it and the joining together again and receding into the distance. Speak Power. Well, Gale Banks and his engines do just that.” —Car and Driver