The journey of classic car ownership for Illinois resident Nick Guisto follows a familiar one. Although ownership occurred long before Nick was a gleam in his father’s eye, the love of vintage iron was already locked in his DNA.
There is a mystique to these cars that people gravitate to and I am one of them. — Nick Guisto
“My father always had cool cars when he was growing up, so naturally I took an interest in the cars that he owned,” Nick told us. “Dad started with a ’50 Olds convertible, followed by a cool ’57 Ford custom Sunliner, a ’50 Merc, and then Galaxies.”
“I was addicted to Matchbox cars and building scale models when I was young,” Nick continued. “Building on this youthful interest, I would eventually set my teenaged sights on more of the full-scale models.”
With the blessing of his parents — and a promise to pay the insurance if he bought the car — Nick inked his name to the title of a ’66 Mustang, a car he still owns.
“I started to save my money when I was 14 working at my parents restaurant,” Nick recalled. “By the time I was 16, I had saved up $1,300 toward my first car.”
“The Cobra is simply one of the toughest-looking cars ever produced,” Nick enthused. “There is a mystique to these cars that people gravitate to and I am one of them.”
The problem for Nick, if you can call it that, is fitting a family of four into the cockpit.
“I discovered soon after I had kids that a Cobra wasn’t the best option for our growing family,” he explained. “At that time I had a street 427 Cobra that we liked to cruise in, but finding a sitter just to enjoy it became a task.”
With family in mind, it was time for Nick to sell the snake. “I had a specific car in mind to replace it,” he said. “I wanted a ’67 GT350 in Brittany Blue.” Though it took some time, Nick was able to not only track down the Shelby on his list, but an all-original-sheet-metal example with history to boot.
First sold at Paradise Ford in Scottsdale, Arizona, before heading to Sacramento, California, in 1976, according to Nick, car #1690 won second in the Concours class at SAAC-6 in Monterey, California, and eventually sold in ’84 where it sat in a garage until 2009.
“I’ve been able to speak with many of the owners, including Garland “Butch” Perry, the original buyer, who brought the car home when he was 19,” he said. “This was the exact car I was looking for, and as luck would have it, I found it just one day after it was available to buy.”
Today, Nick and Bernadette split cruising and memory-making between their Mustang, ERA Cobra, and for family time, the ’67 Shelby. “We love the charm and character of these cars,” Nick added. “Nothing else today compares to driving one.”
With a corral full of vintage iron of his own now, and undoubtedly the coolest cars in the school pick-up line, this is one hobby the Guistos are sure to hand down for generations to come.