Forgive Randy Laws, of North Wilkesboro,
N.C., if he gets a little emotional when talking about his 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air, which won Food Lion AutoFair's Best of Show award Sunday afternoon as the world's largest automotive extravaganza concluded at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

"This car's been in my life just about all my life," Laws explained. "Mom drove it to the grocery store and dad used to pull the camper with it. One day I opened up the mailbox at home and there was letter in there addressed to me. I opened it up and it was the title to this car. It was
right before my 21st birthday, so I took it in and said, 'Dad, you're giving me this title?' He said, 'Yeah, Happy Birthday!'"

Laws' Bel Air then spent most of its time in the basement until a year and a half ago when he decided to begin restoring his dad's classic car, which has a 327-cubic-inch engine that his father installed long ago.
"It began with a paint job and before you knew it, we had it completely disassembled," said Laws. "The car now looks like it did when it came from the factory. We put new chrome bumpers on it, but the stainless steel down the sides is original. The factory-padded dash is the original and we reupholstered the seats, which are now black and have been double-seemed to match the dash."

Laws and his wife Tara, who assisted in renovating the interior, have been coming to Food Lion AutoFair for several years. While at the show, they took photos of similar Chevrolets for ideas of what they needed to do in order to transform their car into an award winner. Laws finished the
restoration project just over a year ago and those photos apparently paid big dividends as his Bel Air earned the show's most prestigious award Sunday.

"It's an emotional day for me," Laws added. "This car has been a big part of my family for most of my life and to win this award is an incredible feeling."

Other specialty award winners were: Robert Dever, of Charlotte, N.C., winner of the Bob Laidlein Award (Most Original) with his 1964 Buick Skylark convertible; Ron Haynes, of Clover, S.C., winner of the Cabarrus Cup Award (Most Creative) for his green and orange 1936 Chevrolet panel truck
featuring 20-inch chrome wheels and a 380-horsepower Corvette engine; Rockwell, N.C.'s Steve Wyatt, winner of the Lion Cup Award (Best Paint) for his blue pearl 1970 Chevrolet Nova SS with hot pink, sunset orange and lime green stripes; 20-year AutoFair participant Jim Michaels, of Maiden, N.C., winner of Best Restoration by Owner for his 1967 red Oldsmobile W-30 442; and Charlotte, N.C.'s Michael Quill who captured the Mecklenburg Strelitz Award (Ladies' Choice) for his 1956 Porsche Speedster convertible.

In addition, each of the 56 car clubs participating in the Food Lion AutoFair was judged individually, with a Best of Show picked for each club.

The fall installment of Food Lion AutoFair takes place Sept. 4-7 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Daily admission is $10 for adults and children under the age of 12 are admitted for free. For details, contact the Lowe's Motor Speedway events department at (704) 455-3205.