A parking lot is a parking lot is a parking lot—unless it’s the Summit Racing parking lot. On any given day or time, the lot outside a Summit Racing store can turn into an impromptu mini car show, depending on who’s stopped by the store. On Wednesdays, we’ll share our parking lot find of the week—another benefit of being Powered by Summit Racing Equipment.
We spotted this pretty, four-door 1956 Buick Special Riviera parked outside the Summit Racing retail store in Tallmadge, OH.
It features that Tri-5-like styling hot rodders love, but with the novelty of the Buick badge and those iconic portholes (which Buick officially called “ventiports”).
Those ventiports are the iconic design cue helping non-expert classic car fans quickly identify old Buicks, and the telltale sign for old pros who know their stuff.
Buick introduced ventiports in 1948 for the 1949 model year, and the company recently has used the number of ventiports to identify the number of cylinders under the hood of each model. Four to a side for V8-powered cars, three to a side for V6-powered cars, and just two for the four-cylinder models.
But in the early years of usage, Buick used them intermittently and attached a specific number of ventiports to particular vehicle models rather than signifying engine size or horsepower.
In the case of our ’56 Special, here, you’ll see the three markers on each side, but under the hood is a 5.3-liter, 322-cubic-inch Nailhead V8 (assuming the owner didn’t swap it).
It’s a nice car.
Check it out now by flipping through the slideshow:
I thought the Rivieras were all pillarless hard tops….?