The luxury, exotic and supercar builders were well-represented Friday at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering in Carmel Valley, California. Among them, Ken Okuyama, Jaguar Special Vehicles, Koenigsegg, Rimac, Bugatti, Rolls-Royce, Pagani, Lamborghini and Singer had their displays, and the show field included a flock of Ferraris. Oh, and there also were Kris Hall and The Daedalus.
Kris who and the what?
You know, Kris Hall, the retired firefighter from Sacramento.
This Daedalus isn’t the character from mythology, the skillful craftsman, artist and father of Icarus, but the car designed by Hall, a skilled craftsman who built it from scratch as a retirement project after 36 years battling blazes. And not just any car, but one fully worthy of being displayed alongside those listed above.
“I had this crazy idea in 1999 and started to accumulate parts,” Hall said. Basically, he acquired a cylinder head and figured he could build a car around it, he said. He had some experience in road racing and building race cars, but nothing that was street legal, nor had he ever worked before with aluminum coachwork.
Hall knew he’d be retiring in 2006, so he spent his spare hours for six years designing his dream car, doing working drawings, structural drawings, creating a 1/8 clay model and even a structural scale model of the chassis.
Hall said his design was inspired “by all the cars I couldn’t afford” when he was a youngster — Aston Martins, Maseratis, a D-type Jaguar.
“I wanted to blend all of that into a cohesive design that represented all of the great cars of that period,” he said, but without simply doing a replica of any of them.
Upon retirement, he started working on the full-size car, and finished “for the first time” in May 2016. One of the things that took so long was that Hall had to learn to turn flat sheets of aluminum into gorgeously curvaceous automotive bodywork.
He also had to redo part of the 1954 GMC truck engine that powers Daedalus.
The engine displaces 302 cubic inches. It was the sort that powered many U.S. military vehicles through World War II, and then became popular with post-war hot rodders because it was so strong, stout and durable.