Kresi Basanovic has struck gold with his very first build - a dazzling HG Kingswood

Photographers: Tony Rabbitte

This story was originally published in the August 2014 issue of Street Machine magazine

KRESI Basanovic’s HG Kingswood stood out like dogs balls among the Tuff Street cars at Summernats 26. In the blazing sun, the pearl yellow paint – which must have a few kilos of crushed gold glass in it – had a distinctive glow, and if that didn’t grab your attention, the blown 572 big-block Chev certainly did. Rolling on 20-inch KWC rims, it had a different look to most of the cars on display that wore the traditional big-and-little tyre combination suited to the quarter-mile.

HG-Holden -rearBut you know what’s most impressive about it? The owner. Sydney-based Kresi is only 21 now, but when he finished the car he was just 19! There aren’t many people that can start building a car at age 15 and turn out something as nice as this, but Kresi had older brothers and a lot of mates in the Thirlmere Fryers to turn to for inspiration and help.

“I bought the car when I was in Year 10 and built it through my [panel-beating and spray-painting] apprenticeship. I did the whole car except for the ’cage and tube work, so I’ve done about 95 per cent of the work myself,” Kresi says.

HG-Holden -front -2He’s apologetic that it took so long to finish, but considering some people take 20 years to build a car, four years is lightning-fast. “Most got done in the last six months before Summernats,” Kresi clarifies. “I was starting work at 7am and finishing at 5pm and then would start on my car and finish at one or three in the morning and do it all over again – for six months straight – and that’s how the car got built.”

When Kresi bought the HG it was a full stocker with a 253. “It had just run out of rego and was a daily driver. It had rust in the usual spots, but nothing too major.”

Being young and keen, Kresi just hooked into it, taking advice from his older brothers and other mates. It was sandblasted inside and out and went on the rotisserie. The plan always called for a smoothed-over body and large-diameter wheels with a big dish on the back, so tubs were fabricated to allow the 20×13 KWC rims to tuck right in. Kresi says they’re mini-tubs, but they look pretty substantial to us. The boot floor was replaced with flat sheet and a new, more spacious transmission tunnel was rolled up.

The rest of the floor is as it left the factory, and the whole lot has been stiffened with a six-point ’cage built by Pedal 2 Metal Fab in Tahmoor. As well as the rollcage, there is some tube work under the car that ties the rear four-link into the rest of the chassis.

There’s a bit more custom stuff going on with the interior as well: the standard dash got the axe, replaced by a flat sheet filled with Auto Meter gauges. A couple of Kirkey race seats grace the front while the rear was modified to suit. The floor was carpeted, but Kresi wanted to make a feature of the tunnel, so that was covered in leather.

The choice of engine was the final thing on the to-do list. “We came across this motor set up with a blower pretty cheap, but the car was always going to be set up for a big donk,” Kresi says. At Summernats the engine gave him a bit of grief, though: “It pushed the head gaskets out, but it didn’t do any damage, so it’s still working out to be a cheap motor.”

HG-Holden -interior -dashWhile there are still a few minor issues to iron out, there’s no denying it’s a stout combo, having punched out 769.5hp at the wheels. With 572 cubes getting force-fed a diet of E85 through an 8/71 blower and twin 950cfm Holley carbs, it’s not surprising. Backing it up is a Turbo 400 and sheet-metal nine-inch with 3.7 gears, so you’d expect it to go pretty well – and it does. “I raced it on the 20s, just blowing the tyres all the way up the track, and managed to do an 11sec pass,” Kresi says.

There are plans to get some slicks under the car to see what it will really do. “It’s pretty crazy underneath,” Kresi enthuses. “It’s got chrome-moly chassis connectors, four-link, wheelie bars, coil-overs, a parachute. It’s fully set up to race. I figured this was the only car I was going to build, so I made sure I was ready for everything. I went all-out the first time knowing I would never want to do another car, so it’s got the best of the best in it.”

HG-Holden -rear -KresiIt’s a little bit sad to think that this may be the last car we see out of young Kresi Basanovic, as he’s done a pretty amazing job first time out. For now he’ll just concentrate on his business, TSR Smash Repairs in Tahmoor, but with seven brothers and a sister – not to mention all the Thirlmere Fryers boys – getting in his ear, we hope he’ll be convinced to give the car-building caper a second go. We could think of worse things happening.