The Port Hole Fad
Why you should absolutely never install port holes on your car.
Don't know what port holes are yet? Don't fret, you've doubtless seen them on the road lately.
It's not often that Buick (atleast the modern buicks) sets a trend in the aftermarket scene - but with the introduction of the 2003 Buick Park Avenue, they did just that. At this point Buick was losing market share, so they decided to add a bit of spice to their normally bland Park Avenue series. Buick called them 'Ventiports', everyone else calls them 'port holes' or 'fender vents' - if you're still lost; here is one of the first cars that featured them:
(one of the 1st appearances of portholes: 1951 Buick Super Sedan)
Buick gave the V6s: Three ; V8s: Four
The finally, the car that resurrected the port hole fad of the 50s:
(Didn't look so bad for a Buick)
A year later, the stylish Maserati Quattroporte came about to really make port holes 'cool'. (Maserati used it in the 50s as well):
The way it is supposed to look.
There is a related fad around the same time that played a part in helping the whole fender modding trend pick up steam, and that is BMW M3/Z4 Fenders.
BMW Z3 Fenders on a BMW Z3
BMW Z3 Fenders on a 1986 Honda Accord
The only problem was in order to get Z3 Fenders, you had to replace your entire fender panel (a few hundred dollars). So, along comes the 2003 Buick Park Avenue's cheap to replicate port holes which in order to be duplicated only required people to simply punch holes into their existing fenders and insert a cheap plastic/chrome universal piece; all for about a tenth of the cost of Z3 Fenders.
With that in mind, it is easy to see how the bang for the buck value was in the port holes favor, and it was a mod that was very noticeable. (which is another thing it had in common with the Altezza fad of years past.).
As with any mod that is cheap, easy to do, and that significantly alters the look of your car, it started taking off. If you rememeber the early days of the clear tail light fad, when the IS300 was first released, it was pretty cool. In fact, I'd even argue that it looked cool for those first few car owners who purchased Altezza tail lights long before it became a fad (the trend starters). Now you see them on every other car, and it has certainly lost its appeal for that reason. This is the same exact thing that is now happening with port holes. So I'm going to go out on a limb and say, it is no longer cool (if you believe it ever was). So I plead with you, please don't go butchering your fenders to install cheap port holes on your ride. (and please god don't install the 3M sticker backed ones - don't get me started on those).
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying they can't look good... I'm saying that with so many riced out kiddie cars running around with port holes they bought from DiscountAuto; it's going to be quite hard to make your car (however nice) look good with the same exact mod.
300C (rolling on 20s!!!!!)
300Cs seem to be particularly vulnerable
Port holes on an otherwise nice looking Lexus
The examples abound, the next time you're on the road, look out for it, I guarantee you'll see a dozen yourself. So, if you are considering jumping on this bandwagon - please don't.
With all that being said, I'm going to leave you with the many bastard children of the original port holes that have made their way to market.