Unholey Water

I have a dear friend, his name is David Kennedy, he works at Hot Rod Magazine. We met for breakfast this morning, we do this occasionally. The time never fits the conversation available, but each subject is always treated with due respect.

Today I committed to sharing some knowledge, in the magazine, on two of my favorite subjects; the measurement and real time display of manifold air density (MAD) and anti detonant injection (ADI). One,the real time display of MAD, is new and the subject of a recent patent and one, ADI, is almost as old as the automobile itself.

Forced induction has been the hallmark of my career and putting holes in pistons the evidence of my ignorance. What a lousy way to learn about octane! One day talking to my Pop, he asked if I’d tried ADI. I had no idea what he was talking about. He related that aircraft engines used used water, injected to prevent detonation, during operation at “War Emergency Power”.

He suggested I go research the subject at the USC library. There I found a book by Sir Harry Ricardo, “The High Speed Internal Combustion Engine” and I also discovered college girls. I succeeded with the book, the girls, not so much. I had no chance, I was still in high school.

The book was a chronicle of Ricardo’s engine research up to and thru WWII. His research on water injection enabled legendary aircraft engines, Allisons, Merlins and Griffons, to prevail in both the European and Pacific theaters. Water injection was the afterburner equivalent, when used for short duration high power settings. And, to quote Pop, it saved the ass of many fine pilots in tight situations.

Since that date, 1959, I’ve used water injection as a performance tool, first on my blown marine engines, then my turbo marine engines, my twin turbo hot rod engines, my twin turbo tuner Firebirds, and most of my record setting turbo diesels. And, for the last few years, with my new injection system, as ADI for my Jeep turbos and as a power enhancing water/methanol system for my diesel truck customers.

So you’ll get a preview of the design ideas that lead to my newย  Banks Water Meth System and the full blown story in Hot Rod Magazine. The air density stuff will follow.

So, today my pistons have no holes…it must be something to do with the water !

Here’s one of my mid ’80’s, 204mph, 700hp, Banks Twin Turbo GT, tuner cars. Water injection was used to remove the need for a bulky Intercooler.

Oh, these cars were full blown road cars with all creature comforts operable, ran a 10.95 @ 129mph and were the first to break 1G lateral on street tires. They also set the all time slalom record in Car and Driver’s course. Cover of Car and Driver, June 1984.

Do those numbers, from 30 years ago, sound like today’s Corvette ZO6? I gotta ask ya, ain’t hot rodding grand ?

Also, in the second photo, my twin turbo, nitrous and water meth injected engine in Lee Sklar’s model T as seen in Hot Rod Magazine in the late ’70’s. This thing is just fun to look at!

Lee Sklar plays a mean bass guitar and is a closet hot rodder and metal sculptor. Banks Twin Turbo dual quad setup obviously needs more, Bob Robe, hard lines!

-Gale Banks

Leave a Reply