An early version of the automobile was made Goldsworthy Gurney. Gurney was a Cornish doctor, who left medicine to pursue invention and steam carriages. After being inspired by another steam vehicle designer, Richard Trevithick, Gurney designed his own steam carriage. One of his models made an extended journey from London to Bath in 1829, with an average speed of 15 mph including stops. This demonstrated the possibility of a paying carriage or coach service, and he started a company to being such a service.
One version of Gurney's coach used a lead car to pull a coach, and was called the Gurney Drag. The lead car was powered by a high pressure steam enging, and proved that it could reliably travel 80 miles a day on a paying route. If the engine blew up, as steam engines sometimes did, the passengers would have some distance between themselves and the engine.
Any chance the business had of being a success were squashed by high taxes, set up to protect the horsedrawn coach industry. Gurney improved the steam engine of the day by inventing a high pressure version of the steam engine, which others like the Stephenson's used in their rail road engine.
A site built by the Building Engineering Services Group of the CIBSE includes information about Sir Goldsworthy Gurney, with copies of his 1827 patent.