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Gale Banks is a name that should be very familiar to many diesel aficionados. Though Banks and the tuning company that bears his name usually work their magic on the biggest diesel pickups in the country, the technology that makes big rigs capable of pulling houses off their foundations works on smaller oil-burners just as well.

When I talked to high performance engine impresario Gale Banks at the Detroit Grand Prix a couple of months ago, he mentioned a new project his team is working on. The follow up to the diesel-powered Pro Stock pickup truck is a diesel-powered dragster. Banks Power is currently putting the finishing touches on an NHRA Top Dragster propelled by a 1,200 hp GM Duramax 6.6L diesel V8. The goal is to have this machine be capable of doing consistent 1/4 mile runs at over 200 mph. The new dragster will

Traditionally, diesel engines haven't been thought of as performance alternatives but for the past decade Gale Banks has worked hard to disprove that perception. Now in his fiftieth year of building high-performance powerplants, Banks has been working closely with companies like Bosch, General Motors and Cummins to wring performance out of diesels. While most people don't think of saving fuel when they think of racing, the reality is that the best race engineers are always thinking of efficiency

Gale Banks has been building outrageously powerful engines for almost half a century now and in the past two decades he has turned most of his efforts toward diesels. Back in the late eighties, Banks Engineering actually built and supplied the turbo-diesel system that General Motors offered as a factory option on their full-size pickup trucks.

Click above for a high-res gallery of images of the Tank Car and others

Automotive enthusiasts the world over have become intimately familiar with many of the exotic, muscle and classic cars contained within Jay Leno's personal collection. One of the most famous is his Tank Car, which was featured as a driveable vehicle (video) in Gran Turismo 4. The imposing hot rod is powered by a 1792 cid V-12 Continental-designed, Chrsyler-built tank engine (hence the name) producing 810 hp and 1,560 ft-lbs. of torque. In these days where a $1.25 million Bugatti Veyron puts out