Legendary racecar driver Barney Oldfield plays himself in the engaging little period piece The First Auto. Russell Simpson plays livery-stable owner Hank Armstrong, who is appalled beyond words when his son Bob (Charles E. Mack) comes home with one of those newfangled "horseless carriages." Throwing Bob out of the house, Hank stubbornly sticks to his stable business, only to be driven into bankruptcy by the ever-growing popularity of the automobile. When Bob returns to his hometown to participate in an auto race, his father, having temporarily gone off the beam, agrees to sabotage the boy's car to make certain that he loses. Only when he attends the race does Hank realize that he's booby-trapped his own son's vehicle. On cue, the car blows up, but Bob emerges unscathed, setting the stage for an emotional reunion between father and son. Long believed lost, The First Auto has been restored to nearly its original length and has frequently been telecast over the Turner Classic Movies cable service.
by Hal Erickson synopsis