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In 1908 in New York City, the villainous Professor Fate challenges The Great Leslie to a New York-to-Paris automobile race. Fate and his assistant Max enter their black Hannibal 8 against the white Leslie Special. At the starting line, Fate sets boobytraps for the other competitors and destroys their cars, except for Leslie's and the Stanley Steamer of Maggie DuBois, a feminist reporter for a New York newspaper. Her car breaks down, and she (with pigeons that send dispatches to New York) is picked up by Leslie and leads him to some gasoline that Professor Fate overlooked when he destroyed the supplies. They meet again in Alaska as both cars come to rest on an ice floe. They drift across the Bering Strait to Siberia; Fate then kidnaps Maggie; and both parties make their way to the Baltic republic of Carpania, ruled by Prince Hapnick (who looks exactly like Fate). Evil Baron von Stuppe uses Fate's likeness to begin a revolution. Fate escapes, however, and the race continues into France. Maggie has again joined Leslie, who proves his love for her when he stops his car a few feet from the finish line to kiss her. Fate, some distance behind, catches up with Leslie and is the first to cross the finish line; but he realizes that Leslie was the real winner. The three turn around and head back to New York.