Antlocer then removed the rope driveshaft and installed a Pontiac heavy-duty three-speed manual transmission made by BorgWarner. "That was the USAC transmission that was used on the circle track," Antlocer said. "It was a very beefy transmission with a 2.28:1 First, and I never had a bit of trouble with it." Antlocer had run that same transmission in his '61 car. "That combination with the 4.30:1 gears gave us the best overall speed and e.t.," Antlocer said. "I tried other transmissions and gears, but this was the best combination for use with the 421 Super Duty motor. I would shift at 6,000 rpm and go through the traps at around 5,800 rpm. What a difference it made. The car kept getting quicker and quicker."

"We got a new camshaft for that engine. Pontiac developed a new camshaft with Iskenderian with .505-inch lift. It was called the Magnum 505-C. We put it in around midseason and that helped the car's performance. The car ran 123.95 at that point with seven-inch tires.

"After the nationals I did a couple of big Super Stock races. We were allowed to use 10-inch M&H tires, and those gave us the good bite. The car ran 11.87 with the 10-inch tires." Antlocer proudly painted "World's Fastest Tempest" on the quarters.

Since only one of the six coupes have been found and restored, the idea that another had come to daylight reverberated throughout the vintage Pontiac and Super Stock hobby. The eBay ad offered some tantalizing information about the car, noting the Plexiglas side windows, the 1964 license plate, and low mileage. Among the accompanying photos were shots of the complete but rusty exhaust with the tri-Y manifolds and dumps, complete interior, factory in-dash tach, and other parts. In the trunk was a hole in the pan (to access the transaxle) and a faded rusty outline of the rear-mounted battery. Another front clip, which had been installed decades ago, was steel.

Antlocer's original aluminum front end was easy to identify. "I decided to cut the louvers in the hood to keep the engine compartment cool," Antlocer said. "It was such a small compartment, so anything to improve cooling was important. When I went to the Nationals and was in tech inspection, I was told I couldn't run with the louvers. I said it was legal `customizing' according to the rule book. They told me to close them up or I couldn't run. So we put cardboard over them and taped 'em up."

That original front end, complete with Antlocer's louver work on the hood, has been in the hands of a Florida collector since 1979. It's rough but complete, waiting silently to be reunited with the body.

The bidding for the SD Tempest on eBay was intense. The opening bid was $500 on October 30, 2008. Four days later, as word got around that this was the Holy Grail of Pontiac A/FX racing history, the bids had climbed to $27,500. As the tire kickers and wannabes dropped out, the real money started to bid on the car, and the price began to skyrocket. By November 7, it was at $86,500, and bidders were climbing over each other for a shot at the car. On November 9, the auction's last day, 10 bidders quickly raised the stakes from $90,000 to $121,000, and then $155,000, all in a matter of four hours. At the end, a late bidder lost out by $100 and a matter of seconds; the winning offer arrived as the auction ended at $226,521.63.

Aside from the fact Antlocer campaigned the SD Tempest for a year before selling it, little is known about what happened to the car after he sold it. "I raced the car in 1963," Antlocer said, "and sold it at the end of the season, which was after October 1963. I lost track of the car after that. I started looking for the car in 1999. I wanted to restore it, but after five years, I gave up."

Antlocer believes it may have gone to Ohio, but he isn't sure. What's interesting is the car ended up in Harrison, Michigan, and was owned by the Venable family. In 1962, Joe Venable drove Arnie Beswick's '61 S/S Catalina. Arnie recalls selling the '61 to Venable not long after that. Could the same Joe Venable have purchased the lightweight Tempest and parked it? Did his plans to build a 421 Tempest race car fall through, and he simply hung onto the car? No one's answering the phone to respond to our questions.

The man with the winning bid was John Raconda from Long Island, New York. He had spoken with Antlocer before purchasing the Tempest, and once Antlocer verified that it was his SD Tempest, Scott Tiemann, proprietor of Supercar Specialties in Portland, Michigan, was dispatched to eyeball the car. When Tiemann gave the thumbs up, the deal was sealed for a cool quarter mil.

"When Joe called me and Scott Tiemann was there looking at the car," Antlocer said, "they pushed it back inside. That's when they noticed the sunlight hit it at such an angle you could still see the lettering on the car. He says he thinks someone spray painted over it, and the Champion decal was on there as well."

There are some other things I see in the pictures," Antlocer said, "but most people don't know what they're about. They've got the original Hurst three-speed shifter. The reason I know it's the original shifter is when I talked to Joe, I asked him what was the diagram on the top of the shifter. He said there isn't any. Well, that's true, because the four-speeds had the diagram, and three-speeds didn't."

The SD Tempest is now safely tucked away at Scott Tiemann's shop in Portland, Michigan. According to Scott, the plan is to return the SD Tempest to as-delivered condition, which means the solid rear axle will be replaced with a correct Powershift transaxle. Scott has done several restorations of early '60s Super Duty Pontiacs for the late Randy Williams, so he's well acquainted with the ultra-rare parts used by Pontiac. Antlocer is skeptical that the parts will be that easy to find, however. "I don't think that's going to be possible today," he said, "because of all the parts needed to go with it. You can get the rear end; there are a few of those around. But the complete setup from shifter to driveshaft and transaxle? No, I don't think so."

Antlocer feels the Tempest should be restored to the configuration he built, with the three-speed tranny and '57 Pontiac rear. "This is a one-off car," Antlocer said. "It has a special set of Pontiac part numbers that legalized the conversion."

One of the restoration challenges Scott has is the aluminum front end. If the original clip can be purchased, Scott already has an aluminum craftsman who does Ferrari work lined up for the Tempest. If not, a reproduction aluminum front end will be hammered to exact specifications.

Since Tiemann's work is in high demand, he's had to clear out some ongoing projects to make room for the SD Tempest. He plans on getting started by February, and it will require a year's worth of work to complete the restoration.

If there's a downside to the story, it's this: When big money comes into play, as it always does with rare and irreplaceable cars, dealings get dark, jaws shut tightly, and lawyers choreograph transactions. Instead of a collective round of congratulations for unearthing a unique race car long thought gone, all parties concerned treated this event like it was the Manhattan project. In the end, however, our hobby has been treated to an extraordinary barn find. That's more than enough to celebrate.

Popular Hot Rodding would like to thank Pete McCarthy, Stan Antlocer, Mike Glass, and Scott Tiemann for their invaluable help in providing information and photos for this story.