7 of Our Favorite Side Scoops and Vents

James Lipman

Be it a scoop, duct, or even speed holes (they make the car go faster, you know), there’s little doubt that negative space improves a vehicle’s design. Some are real and help with induction, cooling, or aerodynamics, but many are fake. With the wide variety of body side holes available, we asked the Hagerty Media team for their thoughts on the best examples of the breed. While many of their answers won’t surprise you, some are likely to do just that!

RUF CTR Yellowbird

Wikimedia Commons/The Car Spy

“I’m a sucker for the side scoops in the original 1987 RUF CTR ‘Yellowbird.’ So massive, so bold, and necessary for that car to cement its name in history as one of the all time greats. Speaking of which, it’s about time for my monthly watch of Faszination on the Nürburgring. —Nathan Petroelje

Ferrari 308

1977 Ferrari 308 GTB

“I’m going Ferrari here. Testarossa is the obvious choice, but it’s almost too obvious. The F40 nearly nails the look with its twin NACA ducts, but everything on that car is overshadowed by the rear wing. The 348 is too ‘baby Testarossa,’ and while the 355 is a bit more understated, I’m going to go with the long, sharp simple scoop carved out of the belt line of the 308.” —Stefan Lombard

Pontiac Trans Am (Second Gen)

Trans Am side vent close up

“I had a hard time pinning one down. First-gen Shelby Mustangs, Cayman GT4RS, Italian anything. Even the box-flare scoop on the mid-engined Ford Shogun looks cool to me—I like aggressive-looking cars. But I’m going to go with second-gen Pontiac Trans Am fender vents. They’re a cool design, I’ve been drawn to them since I was a kid, and they’re a nice bit of ‘means business’ on the side of a car that was all about bravado.” —Eddy Eckart

Ferrari Testarossa

1989 Ferrari Testarossa White Scoop
Sajeev Mehta

I have to go with Testarossa. Not picking it as an icon and pop culture masterpiece is like not acknowledging Harley Earl’s impact on car design. The way Pininfarina got away with ensuring small critters wouldn’t take residence into its side scoops is pure brilliance. It’s literally aluminum window dressing that looks like it could slice an apple, but man, what a way to decorate an empty space. —Sajeev Mehta

Cizeta-Moroder V16T

cizeta moroder front three-quarter
Brian Wiklem

“A good side scoop has to grab your attention, so I’m going to go with the Cizeta V16T. Its strakes and scoops aren’t as elegantly pulled off as the Testarossa it’s ripping off, but they are more over the top. And in a car with 16 cylinders and two sets of pop-up headlights, being over the top fits with the theme. Honorable mention to my Lotus Elise. Those are some damn good scoops.” —Andrew Newton

Corvette Grand Sport (C6)

2010 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport

“The sixth-generation Corvette has been hot and cold throughout my life as an auto enthusiast. Lately it has been on the rebound and my interest only growing stronger. Of the available C6 models, the Grand Sport seems to be the car for the buyer in the know who actually plans to drive it and wants a great balance of performance and livability. The twin scoops on the side are unique to the Grand Sport trim and enhance the lines of the C6 in a positive way, unlike those of some of the other trims.” —Kyle Smith

McLaren 765LT

McLaren 765LT Spider
Broad Arrow

“The scoop carved into the door of McLaren’s modern 765LT (along with its many siblings whose names begin with 7). Its placement and rake recalls that of the F1, McLaren’s legendary ’90s road car. The vent that exists here mimics the side strakes of the F1, with some sort of flare and tuck and crease business behind and below it. I don’t speak enough designer to really break it down, but wow, it’s nice to look at. The hard edges of the vent, both at top and at the trailing edge, are such a yummy contrast to the smooth surfacing of the rest of the door.” —Grace Houghton

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of great or at least interesting side scoop and vent designs out there. Which one is your favorite?


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    Side scoops and vents are required by international law on supercars… how about some more modest examples?

    08 – 14 Lexus IFS side vents behind the front wheels give the car a subtle enhancement that says “this car is not an ordinary IS”.

    Exactly!!! The Testosterone scoops look like giant cheese graters. The 308 is much better. But to my eyes the 308n looks a ton better overall. But what about functional more well incorporated side vents such as the Lotus Esprit?

    Don’t forget the Buick GNX the vents in the front fenders for heat extraction gave it that aggressive look

    The Testarossa went from trendy to novelty.

    The Trans Am is classic

    The 308 is a work of art that we should give credit to the Dino for it on the street.

    The Grand Sport C6 is the only C6 I would buy and it is because of the scoop.

    Mclaren is a good balance of usable and tasteful.

    I do believe the one that is most unique is the Indy Pace Car scoop from 1984, The Fiero used a scoop originally designed for the IMSA GTU car that never got approved by the series for the race car. It showed up on a number of show cars for the next few years. Also you could buy one from Diversified Glass Products for your own car. Which I did. I actually got the last original one.

    Pontiac did design it and it was available from some dealers. Most bought from DGP. I think it summed up the 80’s and the Fiero in a special way. Today we see some other cars using similar scoops and taking air off the roof for their mid engine. includimg the F1 Mclaren and Senna.

    Sorry I was think rear scoop. Pontiac did have side scoops that were tastful and well done for the Fiero But they were not put into production They feared since they were daily drivers they would fill with mud and snow. Some units did get out and were used on show cars. I was able to get a set of them. They fit the flow of the car yet today well. Nothing outlandish.

    All Fieros came with a side scoop, it was on the drivers side in front of the rear wheel and I can assure you that it did not fill with snow. I owned and drove a Fiero from 92 to 04 in Connecticut and never had to clear that side scoop once.

    Your friend is mistaken. All Fieros, including the 85 I bought new and is in my garage, has a functional scoop. The scoop is flared into the driver’s side panel using a simple curve inward and functions as a forced intake, albeit a minor one. Holley designed and sold an aftermarket intake cover that boxed in the scoop to direct more air in yet dynamic tests proved it looks more cool than the original but doesn’t improve the scoop. That cover may be what he claims made it “functional” but it doesn’t improve anything, particularly since the engine intake is FORWARD of the scoop location; it does work well as a cold air forced intake yet would be better if it was routed in front of the intake which requires placing the scoop in the door. Pontiac did a good job designing that subtle scoop that works well without creating any additional drag…not that the Fiero will go fast enough for that drag to matter. FYI, my scoop cover deteriorated years ago and I had to replace it with one of the aftermarket ones because it is all that is available. Made no difference.

    All well and good. Some even amazing. I ll take the 67 Shelby GT-350/500. Part of what made those cars truly Shelby’s and not Mustangs. Integrated so well into the form of the ultimate pony car. Props to the GT40.

    Kudos on the C6 GS selection. The Giorgio-Moroder V16T would look at home in Woody Allen’s “Sleeper”

    The Dino / 308 are nicely integrated and flow naturally into the form. The rest shown here are strictly – D) None of the above. – Off the top of my head? Jaguar XJ 220 has the same nice smoothly blended design. But I’m sure there’s better. Something functional that adds just a bit of a spark without being overwhelming. Hmmm?

    When looking at the pic I was just thinking how the C5 GS perfectly captures the essence of the ’67 “shark gills”, in a way that gives you the feel without over-reaching in a retro-cheesy way like so many other mid 2000’s designs.

    The early Shelby GT350 had tasteful side scopes that were functional for feeding cooling air to the rear drum brakes.

    I was wondering why those were missed. Many shelbys/mustangs had side scoops, 66,67,68, etc…. then the s197 (05-09) gt/cs.

    They missed my sentimental favorite since i own one.. 3000GT .. any model but i have a 1 owner ’91 in racing red/orange ..

    GT40/Ford GT are some of the most stunning cars ever created. Surprised they didn’t include those. I would also say that the 1969 Mustang side scoops are favored by many including myself.

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