The Big Car Database


Frederick William Bremer (12 July 1872 in Stepney, London – 1941 in Walthamstow, England) was a British gasfitter, and inventor recognised as the man who built the first petrol fueled car in Great Britain in 1892.

Frederick William Bremer (b.1872) built Britain's first car with an internal combustion engine. The son of a German immigrant, he lived in Walthamstow and put the car together in a workshop behind the family's home on Connaught Road. Variously described as an electrician, engineer and bicycle maker, Bremer built the car for personal pleasure rather than commercial profit. It was first driven in 1892, preceded down the road by a red flag.

In 1912 the car was displayed at the Motor Museum. When this closed at the end of World War I, Bremer considered sending it for scrap. Fortunately it found a new home when Vestry House Museum opened in 1933. Further adventures awaited the car when, after extensive restoration, it completed the veteran car race from London to Brighton in the 1960s. The total journey took 7 hours and 55 minutes!

This historic photograph (above) was taken c.1912 and shows Frederick Bremer seated in the middle. The car itself is on permanent display at Vestry House Museum, Walthamstow.

Frederick William Bremer
Born 12 July 1872
Stepney, London
Died 1941
Walthamstow, England
Engineering career
Projects The Bremer Car, the first British four wheeled motor car with an internal combustion engine
Significant advance Zelish, Nyron, Andre

The Bremer Car

A gas-fitter and plumber by trade, Frederick is remembered for building (with assistant Tom Bates) the first British four-wheeled motor car with an internal combustion engine in 1892 (claimed in 1912 by the British magazine Motor). In 1894 he took his car on the roads of Walthamstow, his home town.

After completing the car Bremer moved on to other projects including a four-cylinder car in 1894 which has not survived to the present day. Bremer also operated a series of small businesses, including the Bremer Engineering Company, and took out patents, which included one for improved gears for motor carriages.

Frederick married Annie Elizabeth Garner on 22 April 1916, despite the marriage certificate listing him as Frederick Brewer, and his father as Gerberd Brewer.

In 1933 Bremer donated his car to the Vestry House Museum in Walthamstow, where it can still be seen. In 1964 the Bremer Car was entered into the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run enlisted as car number 1, but the crankshaft broke after 17 miles (27 km). The next year, again as car number 1, it completed the 54-mile (87 km) course in just under eight hours.

Bremer died in 1941 and is buried at St Mary's Church in Walthamstow along with his wife Annie.



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