Wormwood Motors is owned by Mr. Wormwood who deals in second hand cars, but, unknown to his customers, the cars are stolen from all over the country, and arrive in wrecked states. He buys them for little, and sells them for high prices. To disguise the poor quality of his cars, Wormwood puts sawdust into their engines. This makes them run smoothly until the buyers are too far away to take them back. Wormwood also repaints the cars and rewinds the car's mileage meter to a fraction of the miles they were previously driven. After doing so, Wormwood lies to his customers, telling them that the cars are practically new and barely used. Wormwood's son, Michael, has inherited his father's enthusiasm for criminal activity, and Wormwood's plans are to hand the family business over to him when he is older. However, Wormwood's daughter, Matilda, highly disapproves of her father's dishonesty.