The words "fast" and "diesel" aren't commonly spoken in the same breath. Diesel trucks, the Clydesdales of the truck world, have always been one-dimensional work trucks, clattering engines producing nothing but torque, with lots of black smoke thrown in.
Those clichs are fading fast as a new wave of diesel trucks hits the street. Currently, there is a diesel revolution going on, with huge amounts of research and development aimed at making the diesel engine an efficient, environmentally friendly power plant that doesn't smoke, isn't noisy, and churns out smooth power like nothing else in the automotive world.
Helping smash the old-school image of diesels as slow and dirty is the Banks Sidewinder, billed as "the world's fastest and quickest diesel pickup truck." The truck stands as an example of what diesel power has become and what it may be in the future. Last October, the truck set an official National Hot Rod Diesel Association speed record, logging a 7.874-second pass at 175 mph in the quarter mile.
You don't run that fast without using an all-out race platform, but the Banks Sidewinder S-10 retains the heart of a truck. It has steel body pieces from the hood back. A steel tube chassis has replaced the original S-10 frame rails. However, the V-8 engine block is a standard steel 2006 Duramax LBZ piece, and the steel crank is also from a standard engine. The hood may be carbon fiber for easy access during the races, but the rear tonneau is metal. The block has been bored 0.010 over during a recent rebuild, but retains an "essentially stock displacement" of 6.6 liters. The Bosch fuel injectors are based on the clean-burning equipment Bosch licenses to OE manufacturers, but have a larger flow rate and are backed by a more robust fuel-delivery system.
The Banks team has been running the truck at drag-race events for about a year now, making continuous progress downward through the eight-second range. These days, they're running consistently in the high seven-second range.