Duramax engines – GMC Syclone – Senator Huff videos – Big sale

FOUR STORIES IN ONE: What would you do with a Duramax engine; A racing blast from the past points to the future; Watch this video and learn why Gale thinks Senator Huff is cool; Don’t buy a new vehicle for Memorial Day — “Banks” your baby and it’ll be better than new!

By John Espino

Duramax Engines: Served to order
At Banks we’ve made serious strides in the development of GM’s Duramax diesel engine, Both mechanically and electronically. It is because of this fact that General Motors has partnered up with Banks to make the stout diesel engine available for sale. We have customers who have purchased the Duramax engine from us in various configurations equipped with a mission-calibrated ECM and engine wire harness. Pictured here are two Duramax engines rated at nominally 320 hp and two with augmented turbos rated at over 400 hp.

Duramax engines from Banks

Now… think about it for a minute: what would you do with a Duramax engine? I’m thinking a diesel-powered ’55 Chevy truck would be really slick! But that’s just me. I’ll leave you to your own fantasies.

Blast from the Past: GMC Syclone Land Speed Truck
We recently dug into our past for an ad that will be out soon concerning our achievements in the field of gasoline performance. We’ve done such a good job of doing diesel right for so long that people (more often than not) ask us in sheer puzzlement “You guys do gas stuff?” The answer is yes, and we do a fine job of it. We have intake and exhaust systems for most gas V8 trucks. Heck, we still have our twin-turbo kit and made-to-order engines available. Our history is laden with trophies and awards for our accomplishments in gasoline performance. Two of our most famous land speed record vehicles didn’t run on diesel ya know: the Twin-Turboed Firebird and the naturally aspirated Syclone.

Banks Syclone

Yes, I said N/A as is “no turbos.” That’s not to say that we didn’t want turbos on the Syclone. On the contrary, we wanted a bunch of things that would have made this vehicle a completely different animal. The things we really wanted was for it to be based off of a full-sized Sierra truck, we also wanted it to be an all-wheel-drive system for a better bite/grip on the salt, and we wanted to use a big-block 502 that we would twin turbocharge. During a meeting about the endeavor folks from the Chevy group said that if there was going to be a performance full-sized truck it was going to be under their banner. GMC folks said that they didn’t make all-wheel-drive trucks, and that none of the truck they sold were turbocharged. No… they all had an idea of this truck’s image as being a hopped up stocker that some guys took to the salt. We ended up with an S-15 mini-truck with a V-6.

The largest engine that was available in an S-15 was a 4.3 liter. Since we were regulated to stay with that engine we board and stroked the heck out it until we got away with a 5.0 liter V-6. Not bad, but we still needed extra power. We came up with a rather ingenious way to “supercharge” the air into the intake… naturally. No blower. What we did was ram the incoming air in two locations from the front of the truck and passed that air through heat exchangers that ran circulated ice water from a tank in the bed of the truck. This changed the density of the intake’s air dramatically and increased the power throughout the run. In short, we intercooled the intake and supercharged the air. Pretty cool (get it?).

In the Summer of 1989 the Syclone truck went on to take 5 speed records, including an FIA International World Speed Record of 194 MPH. The following year the truck broke its own record with a 204 MPH two-way average and a top speed of 210! Not too shabby for dealing with something we didn’t order. Sometimes you just have to make due with what you have, but then again, isn’t that what Hot rodding is all about?

Epilog 1: Chevy came out with a regular cab, short bed truck that had a 454 big-block stashed under the hood. They called it the 454 SS, the “truck from Hell.” Yeah… it wasn’t very good.

Epilog 2: GMC came out with street version Syclone S-15 for the consumer. This little truck ended up being all-wheel drive and was turbocharged. It was one of GM’s fastest production vehicles clocking 0 to 60 speeds in 4.7 seconds. Wait a sec… I thought GM didn’t make all-wheel drive turbocharged trucks?

Final thought: What would that Bonneville truck have done if Chevy and GMC had done it the Banks way? The world will never know.

Check out the video footage from the record-setting runs on the Syclone page »
What else has Banks done in the past 50+ years? Learn more about our history »
Look here if you can’t get enough of twin turbos »

Video from Huff’s visit
Finally… videos! We invite you to check out the videos below. I’ll have more on questions and answers next week.

Senator Huff’s opening remarksGale Banks’ opening remarks, part one
Gale Banks’ opening remarks, part twoGale Banks’ opening remarks, part three

That’s it for this week. Tune in next week for more videos, news and trips down memory lane. Till then, have a powerful week. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to tell a solder, be they young or be they old… “Thank you for your service”.