Stewart Reed is an American transportation designer of some note.  He’s designed several significant cars, including one for dune buggy pioneer Bruce Meyers plus a Bugatti for noted art deco and French Curves mega collector Peter Mullin. 

He still maintains a personal design consultancy for special projects, but his main gig now is Chairman of the Transportation Design program at Art Center (College of Design) in Pasadena, California. 

Many of autodom’s best-known designers are Art Center grads including Peter Brock, Ken Okuyama, Henrik Fisker, Jason Castriota, and Chip Foose, to name but a few.  And Reed has, and has had, great cars in his real and metaphoric garage: Porsches, Alfas, a breathtaking DeTomaso Mangusta, an MG/TC, a Volvo 1800ES, two Citroen SMs over time, and others. 

You may wonder how and why a humble, olive green 1958 Mercedes-Benz 180D is now among his prides of the fleet – you know the 180D – one of the tens and hundreds of thousands of “Ponton” platform sedans Mercedes-Benz produced for worldwide consumption, from 1953 through 1962. 

Its upright grille, three-pointed star hood ornament, and bubblicious fender lines are familiar to the point of being ubiquitous. 

Ponton (pronounced “Pawn-tawn”) is the German version of “pontoon” affectionately affixed to this Fritz Nallinger body design describing the look of its somewhat boatlike front hood and fender shapes. 

Over its decade long production run, this platform was configured in four-door sedan, extended length limo, coupe, convertible, cab, and chassis plus pickup truck body styles, and for decades proved among the world’s most hearty and familiar taxicabs; this chassis architecture was Mercedes-Benz first all-new post-WWII model lineup. 

A smorgasbord of powertrains has found their way under that sculpted bonnet to which the grille is mounted.  Sturdy, solid, reliable, comfortable, yes.  Exciting?  Not in the usual ways.

side of 1958 Mercedes-Benz 180D

Back to Mr. Reed.  Or more appropriately, Mr. and Mrs. Reed.  Stewart and wife Nancy decided to sneak away to idyllic Balboa Island, a trendy, toney, and California beachy piece of Southern California’s Newport Coast, for their 40th wedding anniversary. 

On the Saturday morning of their weekend getaway, they stumbled into a

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By: Matt Stone
Title: Happy Anniversary, Honey! 1958 Mercedes-Benz 180D
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Published Date: Fri, 16 Apr 2021 03:11:41 +0000

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