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VIDEO> Portrait Of A Vintage Motorcycle Mechanic

I think I’ve found my new hero – Adam Craver. This guy epitomizes machines and the visceral feeling we get from them. However, he philosophizes on a major issue that has been brought up politically over the past few decades: the deindustrialization of America. Seeing that we’re on an automotive site, I’m certain that we know the difference between a Phillips and a flat head screwdriver; heck, most of us probably know the difference between a flathead engine and an overhead valve engine. But he makes a great point – there is little knowledge and desire within our emerging generation to create physical things. Craftsmen aren’t being replaced and the shortage is disheartening.

I didn’t think it was possible, but this video makes me want a vintage bike even more than I already did. I was probably going to settle on a BMW R75 or a Honda CB450, but now I might have to save up more nickels to save up for a BSA or a Norton.

Side note: Norton shouldn’t have ever been the name of the anti-virus company as it bastardized the iconic British motorcycle brand name. But then again, Apple was the name of a great record label before some computer company decided to take over the world. Oh well…

The next time I’m in Philadelphia, I’m definitely checking out his shop.

:: Jim Comeau

Liberty Vintage Motorcycles

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16 Responses

  1. Holy crap! Jim, this video is AWESOME. This is the very first time I’ve ever heard of Adam Craver or Liberty Vintage Motorcycles… but I think he is AWESOME.

    The words that he speaks in this video completely epitomizes what I feel about vintage Japanese cars. It’s funny to hear him talking about ‘those kids nowadays’ but I know that as we all get older, WE will all get to that point as well.

    Craftsmanship is kind of an endangered art… whether it comes to welding, bodywork, painting, fabrication… hell, even old school photography. I have major respect for guys like Adam Craver, because he lives his life for something he is completely passionate about – day in and day out. Most people don’t have the courage to be like him, and live out their dreams.

    His shop is incredible. I would absolutely LOVE to go there some day. Thanks for posting this video, man!

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  3. Rockenroller

    Awesome vid!! I have met many passionate people over the years, this fellow tells it all and explains it all in a very short clip. I agree and stand on his every word. I envy and admire his drive and determination, as well of course, his love of the lost art of true biking that starts with an indescribable excitement of seeing a ‘project’ and working through it until the first road test..

  4. Wow, I felt that video big time! There’s a few dudes I know personally who are craftsmen, my dad, my younger brother, Eric at JDM Legends, Chris at Salt Flats Speed Shop and Matt at Wrecked Metals. That’s just my small circle here in Utah. But, compared to a generation or 2 ago, the amount of people who can create with their hands is much less. It’s difficult, I went to school and now work for a manufacturing company as an engineer. Things are rough in the American manufacturing sector, everyone has turned to the technology world, robots, computers, etc. Not much need for craftsman today, which sucks.

  5. john

    you know how he says back in the day i would kill to work at a shop like this….i want him to know I WILL KILL TO WORK IN YOUR SHOP

  6. Mike Selvey

    Having lived this life for ten years as a parts manager for an all-classic British bike shop in Houston, I can relate completely to what Adam Craver is saying. Even though that was back in ’85-95, it was difficult to find GOOD craftsmen to work on the bikes back then. After leaving the shop, it became a new Triumph/BMW/Aprilia dealer, and basically stopped doing much with the classic Brit-Iron.

    I moved into the Piney Woods of East Texas, and continue to build one bike at a time, upon which I sell it, and then acquire another sad relic to bring back to life. No, I can’t do everything myself…I have to farm out some procedures that are more cost effective done by someone else. But still, the satisfaction of having “produced” a new running classic and get it on the road and in the hands of a new owner is a feeling that is hard to top.

    But the craftsmen who do these procedures are aging, and not many of them have sons following in their footsteps. Most of the “mechanics” employed at the old shop in the 80s got married, and needed “real” jobs that had bigger paychecks and “real” benefits. Good luck on that in THIS economy.

    I think its mostly nostalgia, now. Very few people can make a living doing this, unless they are supremely gifted and well advertised and “known” as gurus for the individual marque that is connected to them.

    Long live the Adam Cravers of the world, and the time period in which a man could spend his life doing this.

    Mike Selvey
    Nacogdoches, TX

  7. Haha, I was just going to suggest reading Shop Class As Soulcraft.

    It’s a difficult read, but Crawford’s stories, theories and philosophies are really cool.

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