Leon Serpollet of France designed an improved steam engine in 1887 and in 1888 built a tricycle type vehicle powered by the steam engine. Serpollet's steam engine addressed the problem of steam engines taking a long time to build up steam. In Serpollet's engine metal tubes were heated, and when contacted with water a head of steam was instantly brought up. American financier F.L. Gardner put up the money to bring the project into production.
Serpollet obtained the first drivers license in Paris, and in 1890 with Ernest Archdeacon took a trip (the first road trip?) of 286 miles in 15 days in the steam tricycle. In 1902 Serpollet broke the world land speed record with a speed of 75.06 mph. Gardner and Serpollet built six and eight cylinder automobiles until 1907. Serpollet died about then, and the gasoline engine automobiles were outperforming the steamers in sales by then.