Hand-crafted in Northern California by Kris Heil, The Daedalus is a one-of-one, aluminum-body, curvaceous creation inspired by European sports roadsters that ruled Sebring, Le Mans, and high-end tracks around the world in the late 50s and early 60s. Not a clone or copy of any particular vehicle, The Daedalus incorporates styling cues from Aston Martin, Jaguar, Ferarri, and Porsche. The intention was to create a car that an American builder using American parts might have created in the era.
A nod to American racing heritage, The Daedalus is powered by a 302-cubic-inch GMC inline six-cylinder engine. Frequently used in post-World War II era circle track, stock car, and land speed racing, these engines were favored because of their large displacement and durability. The 302 was a dominant factor in racing until the Chevrolet small block arrived on the scene.
The Daedalus engine started as a new-old stock block, crank, and rods. Custom aluminum pistons provide a compression ratio of 10:1 and the custom flat tappet cam operates tubular pushrods and shaft mounted, aluminum rockers. At the end of the crank are an aluminum flywheel and Centerforce clutch. The engine is rev limited to 5000 RPM, and the estimated output based on the components used is around 300 horsepower. An MSD distributor and ignition system fire the engine.
The most notable feature of the engine is the special racing cylinder head. During the years when these engines were heavily developed, many builders such as Wayne, Fisher, and Horning created 12-port, aluminum crossflow heads. They usually featured large valves, excellent flow characteristics, and substantial weight savings. The Daedalus engine head is a rare Arias/Howard unit and is the latest iteration of those early racing heads. Arias/Howard produced less than 60 of these heads.
The custom aluminum intake manifolds carry three Weber 45 DCOE carburetors. The exhaust system is custom-built with merge collectors and passenger-side exhaust.
The front drive assembly is a custom-built serpentine system with a Gilmer belt-driven power steering pump. Lubrication is via the stock oil pump, and the modified block allows full-flow filtering. The remote filter head has a built-in, single-stage oil pump to pressurize the engine without firing the motor, which is beneficial if the car sits for long periods between use.
The overdrive transmission is a Tremec TKO five-speed manual with an annular slave cylinder.
Chassis & Exterior
The chassis is a custom-designed tubular space frame fabricated from TIG welded Chrome Moly tubing.
Crafted from 3003 H14 aluminum, the hand-formed body was rolled on an English wheel. After completion of working drawings, a wooden buck was built, then individual metal sections were shaped and formed over the buck. Upon completion, the sections were welded or riveted together. The paint was custom mixed and applied by Gary's Rods and Restorations of Watsonville, California
The Daedalus has three major body sections. The nose is a one-piece tilting fabrication. The center section comprises the cowl, the doors, and the rear bulkhead. The tail section is a one-piece, removable section that carries the rear access hatch and the trunk.
The windshield and frame were modified Porsche Speedster items, and all the other trim was hand fabricated from brass and then chromed.
The headlight and turn bezels were hand-turned from billet aluminum.
Weight distribution is 52% front, 48% rear, and a total wet weight of 2681 pounds without driver.
Designed and created by cloisonne’ artist Merry-Lee Rae, The Daedalus emblems on the steering wheel and inset into the nose of the car are hand-crafted using gold, silver, and high-fired enamels.
Wheels & Brakes
Michelin tires are mounted on 16-inch Truespoke wire wheels. The brakes are a custom design by the builder and feature Wilwood calipers, aluminum brake hats, and full floating, vented rotors. The Tilton Engineering floor-mounted pedal assembly has a cockpit-adjustable brake bias dial.