We’re Calling It: Banks Power’s Lokjaw Truck Just Won SEMA

banks power lokjaw
Banks Power’s Lokjaw Truck Rocks SEMABanks Power
  • Banks Power, the turbocharging empire established by hot rodder and racer Gale Banks back in the Pleistocene, has created a truck.

  • The truck’s name is Lokjaw, named after the rust it was made of when they found it on a farm and bought it for a dollar. True story.

  • After putting everyone on staff, and many outside suppliers, on the project, Lokjaw was revealed at the SEMA show in all its 1000-hp glory.

Banks Power spends a lot of time turbocharging engines for the military. Do it right and you have a big advantage on the battlefield. But while military contracts take up a lot of the company’s time, once in a while the team gets to have “fun.” Or as much fun as you can have fighting to get it all done before the deadline of the SEMA show.

The Lockjaw truck was fun. Bought for a dollar from where it lay disintegrating in a field, Lokjaw was named after the disease—lockjaw, aka tetanus—you can contract after getting cut by something dirty or rusty, and there was plenty of rust on this truck: The 1966 Chevy C/20 was well into returning to the Earth from which it came.

The Banks team arrested that decay, and even preserved it in the finished truck under a protective coating of modern spray-on materials. But the “patina” is only on the surface. It’s everything underneath that makes the truck stand out, which isn’t easy to do at SEMA.

banks engineerings lokjaw pickup truck
A thing of beauty is a joy forever, especially if it makes 1000 horsepower on pump diesel.Mark Vaughn

A company called Transou Design produced the initial rending for LokJaw. Then the team got to work. Everywhere you look on Lokjaw is technical and engineering detail that is as fascinating to see as it must have been challenging to make. The whole project is based around a Banks supercharged Duramax L5P diesel. Working with longtime co-conspirator Whipple superchargers, the Banks team went to town.

Billet pieces had to be made to funnel the air from the custom intakes in the grille to the supercharger and into the engine. The bag-o’-snakes exhaust headers were hand formed into art. On one side the bundle parts to allow the steering column to pass through.

Look closely at the engine bay and trace the route of the air into, through, and out of the big block. Check out the machining on the Whipple Gen 5 3.8 supercharger. It’s all, for machineheads, beautiful.

banks engineerings lokjaw pickup truck
That’s a custom frame from Roadster Shop in Chicago, along with custom spindles, a Strange Engineering 9-inch rear end, and 22-inch custom wheels. Engine Program Manager Matthew Gamble designed the big rear deck, which raises using springs alone.Mark Vaughn

Look underneath and there’s a custom frame from Roadster Shop in Chicago. The whole rear half of the truck is remade, with artistic flourishes throughout. You can see carbon-wound nitrous bottles, custom spindles, a Strange Engineering 9-inch rear end, 22-inch wheels each machined from a single big cheese-roll of aluminum. Engine Program Manager Matthew Gamble figured out how to raise the big rear deck and large forward-hinged hood using springs alone. That required CAD. Inside are gauges galore.

“Logging pressure and temps on either side of the supercharger allows us to measure the air density gain across the blower and make sure it’s creating denser air and not just hotter air,” says Banks. “We added every sensor imaginable, along with dozens of our analog and thermocouple modules. The Banks Air Mouse (sensor) in the grille gives all ambient temps the engine is starting with. All data is instantly viewable and recorded on our Banks iDashes located on the custom-designed billet dashboard.”

The result is 1000 brain-blowing horsepower. When Gale Banks, super-genius and mastermind behind the big Banks empire, first fired it up, his exact words were a modification of “Jiminy Christmas.”

“I guess we’ll have to edit that out,” Banks says to the camera on one of about 50 videos documenting the big build on They didn’t edit it out.

banks engineering's lokjaw pickup truck
Lokjaw at its reveal at the SEMA show.Mark Vaughn

Lokjaw is one of the standouts of SEMA this year, no easy feat given the thousands of cars, trucks, SUVs, and at least one ice cream truck that showed up in Las Vegas this year. Congratulations to the team. Now maybe we can drive the thing. Gale?

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