Before Elon Musk, there was Max Valier. In fact, Musk has much to thank Valier for.
A pioneer of rocket-powered mobility, Valier was one of the founders of the Spaceflight Society, which assembled many of the minds that later made spaceflight a reality in the 20th century. Valier was a showman like Musk too, with “a gift for reaching the public.” Starting his career as a science writer, he penned the popular The Advance Into Space in 1924, following it up with many articles on space travel, including “A Daring Trip to Mars.”
Valier was also interested in rocket-powered travel on land. In 1928 and 1929, he worked with Fritz von Opel on assorted rocket-powered vehicle trials — cars, rail cars, sleds and aircraft. One car reached a speed of 230 km/h.
Check out this footage of the wild and woolly trials: