Every Porsche owner has a story to tell about how they acquired their first or their latest and greatest Porsche. The fortunate inherit the Porsche and sometimes the passion, while others find both along the way. Richard Freeman grew up in southeastern Washington state and inherited neither the Porsche nor the appreciation of the German marque. But as an adult he’s fallen in love with and owned many vintage machines that would make any card-carrying Porschephile salivate. And his latest is arguably the greatest.
Reflecting on his rural roots Freeman recalls, “People were into cars but it was more the muscle car crowd. We all had late ’60s muscle cars in high school and rebuilt the engines ourselves,” he says. “I even painted my car and several of my friends’ cars.” Freeman didn’t stray far from his childhood home of Richland, Washington to attend WSU in Pullman. “Then,” he says, “right after I graduated I went straight off to Asia to explore.” He stayed overseas and he has worked in the Asia Pacific nearly his entire adult life. However, he never completely left the Pacific Northwest.
“While I was living in Japan, I often came home in the summer and during one of these trips, in July 1999, I noticed a neighbor’s pristine ’63 356B coupe that was kept in storage and only driven on occasion,” he says. “A couple of years later, it came up for sale when I was in back in Japan. I knew it was a completely original, low-mileage car, and that the owner was meticulous about upkeep,” he recalls, “so I negotiated the deal from Japan without ever taking a close look. I purchased it in March 2001 but I didn’t get to see it for months—until I returned that summer. It nearly drove me crazy!”
Apparently it was worth the wait. “When I finally saw it in July there were no surprises. It was a fantastic car and driving it was natural.” He immediately joined the local Porsche Club of America. “Then I found the 356 Registry which really sparked my interest in these old cars,” he says. Soon, Freeman acquired a ’58 Speedster and a warmed-over 148-hp 1965 356C Sunroof Coupe built by John Willhoit of Willhoit Restoration. Still, Freeman wanted something even more powerful, which led him to the Porsche 911.
“I got my first one, a ’67 911S, in December 2007,” says Freeman. “It was completely stock and we were just going to clean it up a bit,” he recalls. “When I got it to Willhoit’s shop he found that one of the rocker panels had been badly damaged and improperly repaired and he told me, ‘We could fix it, then we’ll have to paint it.’ I said, ‘All right John, just do the whole car.’”
Two years later Freeman got his Sand Beige 1967 911S back in pristine condition. “It was really, really nice!” he says. In fact, the car was so nice that Freeman found himself reluctant to drive it as hard or as often has he had envisioned. He set out to find another 911, which leads us to the Signal Yellow 1972 911T you see here.
Building A Hot Rod 911