Twin-Turbo Revival: Part 2

Super Rod September 2004

by Tim Gavern

photography Gale Banks Engineering Archives and Tim Gavern

Back to the Future: Fast-Forward Firebird

Now for the kicker. Gale Banks recently pulled one of his original twin-turbo Firebirds out of mothballs, and it’s about to receive a Banks Revival twin-turbo small-block Chevrolet engine, and all the modern goodies to go along with it. Now, this isn’t just any ol’ ’84 Firebird—this one shows 15,000 miles on its clock, and it’s as clean as one would expect from a Southern California Firebird that lived in dry storage all its life.  

In fact, it is probably the nicest ’84 Firebird on the planet. The interior is cherry pie, and its only non-stock item is the Nash/Hurst shift handle, sticking straight out of the console. The car is already under construction, and Banks bas contracted IDR (industrial Design Research, Inc.) of Laguna Beach, California to build the aerodynamic body modifications. 

Plans are to lower and lengthen the front of the car, introducing more air inlets and outlets to provide better cooling for the twin-turbos’ engine bay. A fiberglass hood is also being developed with several extra inlets. The car will get side pods and a rear tunnel, as well. From what we’ve seen so far, it looks mighty good. Plans are to paint the car Banks/Budweiser Red, and the interior will be redone in anthracite.

A second engineering ”mule” is also being developed at the same time. Banks dropped the Revival program dyno ”mule” twin-turbo engine into his mint ’90 Chevrolet 454 SS pickup. This is the exact engine that was tested at over 850 hp on pump gas and 1,115 hp on l00-octane. It spent more than 100 long hours on the dyno at the hands of the Banks engineers. The truck should be finished long before the Firebird, and we can’t wait to go for one of Banks’ infamous “death rides.” Of course, we’ll tell you all about it…

Twin-Turbo Revival: Part 2
A mock-up version of Banks’ Revival twin-turbo small-block Chevy fits like a glove in the ’84 ‘Bird. Expect to see a running version of this engine in the same spot in the near future.
Twin-Turbo Revival: Part 2
What did you expect the interior of a 15,000-mile ’84 Firebird to look like? It’s as cherry as it gets. The tan will be changed to anthracite and several “modern” features will be added.
Twin-Turbo Revival: Part 2
The Firebird already had a 9-inch Ford rearend installed “back in the day.” It will be upgraded with larger brakes, and the wheel wells will be modified to accommodate modern, ultra-wide tires.
Twin-Turbo Revival: Part 2
Industrial Design Research, Inc. of Laguna Beach, California, is working with Banks to build the aerodynamic body mods for the Revival twin-turbo Firebird.
Twin-Turbo Revival: Part 2
Shown is Gale Banks along with Banks’ Race Shop manager, Curtis Halvorson, Banks’ chief designer, Bob Robe, and Banks’ Race Shop project lead, Sheldon Tackett, discussing options for the Revival twin-turbo Firebird.
Twin-Turbo Revival: Part 2
Banks’ mint-condition ’90 454 SS Chevrolet pickup is about to become another perfect candidate to receive an 850hp Revival twin-turbo small-block Chevrolet.
Twin-Turbo Revival: Part 2
This is the exact engine that Banks and crew pulled 850 and 1115 hp out of. This engine spent more than 100 grueling hours of testing on the dyno at the hands of Banks’ merciless engineers.
Twin-Turbo Revival: Part 2
What you see here is probably the nicest ’84 Firebird in existence. Gale Banks Engineering is about to “modernize” it with its latest-generation Revival twin-turbo small-block Chevrolet and a Richmond six-speed gearbox. The Firebird will also take advantage of modern, large-diameter brakes, wheels and tires, and new, aerodynamic bodywork.

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