The 217mph tow vehicle

By » Mon, October 29 2012

banks sidewinder01 450x297 The 217mph tow vehicle

It’s no secret that land speed cars make my naughty parts tingle. I would cut off a (minor) body part for the opportunity to drive flat out for a speed record. But outside of the raw speed, I think what attracts me most to the whole thing are the characters involved: Burt Munro, Ab Jenkins, Andy Green, Sir Malcom Campbell, the list goes on and on. In October 2001 Gale Banks put himself firmly on that list with Project Sidewinder.

Banks combined three of my favorite things: big honking diesel engines, massive turbo chargers, and land speed record vehicles, into one awesome package.

“We want to drive the Sidewinder to the Bonneville Speed Trials, towing our racing gear, with great fuel economy,” said Gale Banks, President of the Azusa, Calif., company that bears his name. “Then we want to put on the proper wheels and tires and go racing. And we want to eclipse the current National Speed Record.

They towed the pits with the race truck, raced the truck, set a world record for pickups (and tow vehicles) at 217.314 mph, then towed the pits back home with that same truck. Gene Banks just has class.

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