Super Rod September 2004
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…