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Blackduck mechanic restores award winning Buick

Chet Yon, left, and Brian Larson, pose with Yon's 1949 Buick Super Convertible that Larsen completely restored to win top honors at the Buick Club of America National Meet last week. The car received 394 points out of a possible 400. It also received a Senior Award -- a rare award for a vehicle to receive.

When Chet Yon of Fountain Hills, AZ and Bemidji found a 1949 Buick Super Convertible in a barn in Greenbush 35 years ago, he had no idea the potential the vehicle had.

Yon who has been collecting cars for over 50 years, said that the Buick is the nicest one he's every owned.

Yon found Brian Larson, owner of Stretch Auto Body in Blackduck nine years ago. Larson had a passion for old cars and enjoyed fixing them up.

"I've always been fascinated with cars," Larson said.

"Before getting the Buick, Stretch (Larson) had restored a 1971 Oldsmobile for me," Yon said. "I knew he was a car nut so I trusted he'd do a good job. When he got done with the Oldsmobile after four years, he started the Buick, which took him two years."

Including the Buick, Larson has done three complete restorations of vehicles.

"I had to do everything to this car," Larson explained. "I even worked on the convertible top and the leather interior."

Because the Buick turned out so good, Yon decided to enter the car into a variety of shows, including the most recent show the Buick Club of American National Meet in Ames, IA.

"The car has been in a number of shows, but has never been judged until this one," Yon said.

Approximately 400 Buicks were in attendance at the show from all over the United States and Canada.

"It was a pretty intense show," Larson said.

The Buick received the Gold Award -- the highest award at the show. Out of a possible 400 points, the car received a 394. It was also awarded the Senior Award, which is a rare award to receive.

"The Senior Award shows that the car was so good that it qualified for this award," Yon said.

According to Larson, the grading system for the points is based on originality.

"Basically what they're looking for is how the car rolled down the factory line," he said. "They look at how the car looks when it hits the show room floor. They pick apart everything."

He went on to say that the judges are very highly trained and know Buicks very well.

"This shows the excellent workmanship that Brian put into the restoration of this rare and beautiful Buick," Yon said. "Stretch was beaming pretty hard at the awards dinner.

"The reason I restore cars is not only because it something I truly enjoy, it is preserving a piece of history for the next generations to look at," Larson said. "I hope to have the younger generation of kids growing up to be able to enjoy these cars. These are pieces of history."

Yon said that within the next year, he plans to enter the car into one if not two more national shows.