2007 Banks Purchases Automotive Balancing Service

Founded by Bill Fisher as Electronic Balancing Company in 1953, the firm originally took on industrial applications (fans for refrigeration, air conditioning, and industrial machines) as well as automotive and aircraft engine-balancing applications. Cecil Welch, Fisher’s childhood friend, joined the firm shortly thereafter. As the workload increased, Fisher turned over all of the automotive work to Welch, who set up shop in Lynwood at 11019 Atlantic Avenue. It was 1956, and Automotive Balancing Service—the very first high-performance engine balancing shop—was born.

Welch and his company were very involved in the formative stage of the Southern California drag racing scene in the 1950s and early ‘60s. The ABS client roster included such luminaries as SEMA’s founding President Ed Iskenderian, Mickey Thompson, Phil Weiand, Carroll Shelby, Dean Moon, Tommy Ivo, Connie Kalitta, Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, Keith Black, Louie Unser, Ed Pink, Fred Offenhauser, Kenny Parks, and Roy Richter. Others include Edelbrock, Toyota Racing Division, the Nethercutt Museum, Harrah’s Automotive Museum, Mondello Boats, Hallett Boats, and many Indianapolis racecars. Client brothers Bob and Bill Summers set a land-speed record of 409.277 mph with their famous four-engine, naturally aspirated Goldenrod in 1965. Coincidentally, it was Al Teague who broke the Goldenrod’s record 26 years later.

Cecil Welch passed away in 1964. His son, Alan, took over the business and relocated ABS to a shop in South Gate.

Gale Banks’ association with ABS goes back to 1958, when Banks owned a nearby speed shop in Lynwood. Gale chose ABS to ensure the precision balancing of his high-performance auto and marine engines. After that, ABS balanced the Banks engines for many of Gale’s record-breaking speed runs at Bonneville, including World’s Fastest Passenger Car (268 mph in 1986), the World’s Fastest Piston-engine Automobile with Al Teague (432 mph in 1997) and the World’s Fastest Pickup Truck, the Banks Sidewinder® Dakota (222 mph in 2002). Banks purchased ABS in 2007 bringing all of the equipment to the Banks campus where it operated for several years as an independent shop under the Banks umbrella. Due to the need to concentrate on military opportunities, Banks elected to shutter the company to pursue the formation of Banks Technologies. This Banks subsidiary would come to handle the creation of the military-grade DT-866 Duramax engine that now powers the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV). 

Although Automotive Balancing Service is now gone it will always have the history of being a part of California hot rod movement, and helping forward thinkers create some of the most powerful and efficient engines on the planet.