For most of its existence Banks have been synonymous with turbocharging. In fact, Gale Banks himself has often been referred to as “Mr. Turbo” throughout the years. From marine dominance to 200 mph street cars featured on the cover of Road and Track magazine, to the record-breaking collection of Banks Sidewinder speedsters, they all had one thing in common: turbochargers. Gale Banks has offered incredible power and dependability with his signature twin-turbo turn-key engines and kits for decades, but this week we take a look at one of the turbo systems that seem to have been eclipsed by the more powerful brethren: a Banks single turbo kit for 350 small blocks GM applications.
In 1982 Cam Benty reviewed the single turbo kit for Popular Hot Rod Magazine. The all-inclusive system, which was installed on a Corvette, was good for a maximum of 400 horsepower with no modifications to the engine and ran all of the car’s accessories also with no tinkering needed. Although this power output was moderate for the day when compared to today’s kits (the last twin-turbo system Banks offered a 1,100 hp output), it was good enough to translate to a two-second gain in quarter-mile times. The kit not only included every nut and bolt and a complete exhaust system, but also a pretty trick dial-a-boost knob just under the boost gauge so that drivers could tailor the amount of boost and the vehicle’s performance with a twist of a knob from inside the vehicle.