Yours might have been modified by a previous owner. They probably did it thinking it would keep leaves and such out to reduce fire hazard completely ignoring they are needed to vent engine heat.
HOWEVER, that may not be the case at all. Have you taken them out to look at them or only looked from the top down through them? Reason I ask is early vents had a hex mesh in them, latter vents had a louverd steel plate. If I remember correctly the louvers are under the ribs to reduce the chance of leaves and such getting through them. This can give the illusion of a solid plate when it actually isn't. So if you have not actually reremoved one to check, you should be able to just feel the underside of one and find out.
[This message has been edited by Khw (edited 07-31-2013).]