Vince Guido of Queenstown, Md., is on the hunt for information on his ’51 Ford sedan he bought in Chittenango. It might have Cortland roots.
The SUNY Cortland graduate wants to find the former owner of his car. And he’s got a copy of a photo of his fraternity brothers mugging on Port Watson Street in Cortland, possibly in the early ‘60s, in front of their fraternity house — with a ’51 Ford in the background.
“Is this my Ford?” he wants to know.
“That car could have been destroyed years ago,” Guido said recently in a telephone interview.
And yet …
“I now have this car, which is similar to what’s in the picture. Same (Ford) two-door sedan.”
The picture was published in an autobiography by his fraternity brother, Vinnie D’Esposito, a fellow Long Islander. Guido and D’Esposito were in the Gamma Tau Sigma fraternity.
Photo provided by Vince Guido
Vince Guido is looking for information on the circled car, a ‘51 Ford. The photo was taken between 1958 and 1963 in front of the old Gamma Tau Sigma fraternity house on Port Watson Street.
“I loved it,” Guido said of SUNY Cortland. “We had such a great time. It was so small in those days. You knew just about everybody. There were only three fraternities and 10 sororities. “The ratio of girls to guys was quite good. We had a great time. There was a lot of things to do.”
Guido graduated from SUNY Cortland in 1962 with a degree in math education.
“I taught math for 33 years and driver’s ed, and coached football and basketball at Northport, L.I., said the 81-year-old.
“There’s so many lasting friendships over the years,” Guido said. “I hope to get back. I was back for my 50th reunion. I hope to come back to my 60th reunion.”
He and his wife, Jayne Ann, have four children and seven grandchildren. He retired to Queenstown, Md., and now splits his time in Florida.
Through the years he’s had eight antique cars. This Ford is his eighth. “It’ll probably be the last one.”
He’s had one Ford coupe, three Ford Thunderbirds, a Ford Mustang, a Cadillac convertible, a Chevy Impala and another ’50 Ford.
The ’51 Ford sedan is completely restored. He did the work himself on its door panels, carpets and trunk. He had others do the chrome, starter, carburetor, water pumps and muffler.
“I found it in Chittenango, at a small dealership, Joe Caputo’s Joe’s Old Cars,” Guido said. “I had to have the grill and everything rechromed. It’s all restored. Oh yeah, I drive it all the time. I use it for shows and parades in Maryland and Delaware.”
A business card from an insurance agent, Bobbie Jo Brown of the Allstate Insurance Co. at 41 Port Watson St., was in the glove box, along with a registration form from the Cortland Antique Auto Club. He wrote the club. The letter came back unopened.
“I tried to contact the person on the card,” he said. “Have not heard back.” He reached out to the Cortland Standard to widen the search.
“I am curious to contact the original owner, let them know the car exists. I talked to Joe in Chittenango. He couldn’t find anything on the previous owner,” Guido said. “What’s strange, when I was in college, I also had a ’52 Ford.”
“I don’t know. My father always bought Plymouths. I was in favor of Fords. To this day we have a Ford Explorer.”
The Cortland Antique Auto Club disbanded in 2012, said its president, Scott Friedah of Blodgett Mills. It had lost many members because of age.
Friedah, who worked as an auto mechanic, fabricator, welder and truck salesman, owns a 1949 REO Speedway Truck. He’s its second owner, buying it from the Belonsoff family, Long Island vegetable farmers. They bought property in Summerhill and Friedah became friends with the son. When the parents wanted to get rid of the truck, he bought it.
Friedah says people are attracted to certain models or years for different reasons.
“People like the make, model or year. It’s personal. The family always bought it. Maybe the year is when they graduated high school or college or it was the year they were born. That’s what makes people dig into information and find out more about it,” he said.
Friedah says one of the easiest ways to find out information about an antique car is to research it on Facebook. Many clubs post on Facebook and people can join them and start a conversation. Pictures can be shared, too.
“A lot of Facebook users are on there all day long,” he said. “You get antique buffs that are also searching, asking for comments.”
Guido belongs to the Kent Island Cruisers in Maryland, as much for the friends as for the cars.
Photo provided by Vince Guido
Vince Guido, his wife of 56 years, Jayne Ann, and granddaughter, Karli.
“There’s a lot of money we raise to contribute to local charities,” Guido said.
In the wintertime, car enthusiasts are not hibernating, Friedah said. They’re looking to the summer, restoring their vehicles in a heated garage, perhaps with a beer and their tools.
“Restorers of old cars keep them alive,” Friedah said. “Trucks the same way.”
He’d tell other car collectors: “Just to keep them as original as possible.”