Etsy profiles Liberty Vintage Motorcycles

Dailies -



Like a moving, talking version of one of Grant’s Shop photo features, Etsy dispatched a videographer to create this short film on Adam Cramer and Philadelphia’s Liberty Vintage Motorcycles. Bikes as the last bastion of American manhood? Pretty much.


  • Mark D

    Very cool video. I keep seeing my old ’78 orange Honda 400 in the back ground.

    Piano at the end was a nice little twist, too!

  • stephan

    its fonzie for christ sake!

  • dan

    I of course like how many mopeds were lurking in the backgrounds. That is the future of bike builders.

    A growing population of youth constructing custom small motorcycles to race each other with on public streets.

  • Kerry

    I never knew Etsy made films. Very worthwhile, very deserving fellow.

    I think his observations, his complaints are pretty valid. My two kids are glued to Facebook (here I am posting on an internet site) and they have no skills or desire for manual labor . . . unless it’s something they want me to build for them like a skateboard ramp.

    The problem with his perception is that both my kids saw him more of a hoarder than a recycler.

    • Case

      He is a hoarder. That’s why he has so many bikes sitting around. How many can you actually ride? At least Leno makes sure all his stuff is running.

      I liked the video but it could have used more operating motorcycles. What is the product of all this macho machine-ness? Besides hoarding, I mean.

      I don’t completely disagree that the kids today can’t/won’t wrench, but they grew up in an era when everything works. Why would they know how to wrench?

      • Scott-jay

        Not bikes sitting around, Case. Those are projects. : )

  • nymoto

    When I grow up I want to be that guy.

  • cramer

    That just made my day. Glad to share the surname.

  • andy727

    GREAT video. Makes me proud that my kids like working on bikes/cars with me.

  • Scott Pargett

    I just bought the book, Shop Class as a Soulcraft, which I’m excited to start. I feel as if the more people look around, the more they see the scarcity of things tangible, or inherit meaning within goods. There’s a movement of this growing in the undercurrent of modern world.

  • Steve

    Unfortunately he is right about the skills shortage. I cannot find skilled fabricators or handle turning machinists. I’m trying to hire and the skilled employees are not out there, unless they are older. The most recent fabricator I hired is 60! New blood isn’t coming into the trades, and I can’t blame them. Hard, hot work for moderate pay. Given the choice who wouldn’t prefer the cushy desk job in the AC instead of lifting steel in the heat and occasionally burning your fingerprints off on a hot piece of metal.

    I don’t know how to fix it. The only luck I’ve had is hiring immigrants from Central America (legal and documented). They still build and fix things down there apparently, and fathers still teach their sons how to use tools.

    • RocketSled

      I see this. My problem is that I’ve worked a good career that’s paid well. It’s given me enough discretionary income to learn to cut swarf and hold tolerances. I really enjoy doing it…but I’d take a serious paycut to leave my day job, and I suspect it’s fun because I DON’T have 38 more to make before the shift’s over.

      I’m also liking the comepletely manual aspects of it. No CNC here. No chip shield, no emergency brake, no warning stickers. I have both eyes and all my fingers because I have to fuckin’ pay attention when I’m out in the garage. Which keeps me sane.

  • BuellDoc

    All of us can teach our children the use of tools. Both my children know what each tool is and how to use it. They amaze their friends when they offer to help repair something. Both children sit behind a desk now..but the knowledge IS there and maybe will pass on….one can only plant the seed of craftsmanship with pride.

  • Harlan

    Nice video. I used to work for Adam when I was in college. He taught we everything I need to know about old vintage bikes which I guess explains why I have a garage full of old bikes that don’t run too. :)

  • Leon

    Nice job. Good on you Adam. Keep on, keepin’ on.


  • BuellDoc

    The other side of the coin is nothing is being built now to be rebuilt..just replaced!
    Look around his garage…old bikes that offered a lifetime of parts that can be rebuilt…I look at HD growth…in the early years a tech had to know how to rebuild and fit….now every part is a throw away when worn out ..Today’s generation will not wait for a part to be a craftsman to blueprint..get the part and replace it and get me on the road now! So the manufactures build to throw away.

  • John

    Good video. If I had kids, I’d show it to them. All I can do is post it on FB. That’s the only place my nephews will see it!

  • DoctorNine

    Authenticity applies to people as well as cycle parts, you know…

  • Thomas

    “I couldn’t and wouldn’t do anything else. I have tired.”

    This is something an artist would say. It’s a compulsion, like he said. He’s really got no choice in the matter. Thanks for putting this up!

    I work with educational institutions(K-12) and I can tell you without a doubt, he is 100% dead accurate on his assessment of today’s youth.

    CTE and trade classes have died off to almost nil at this point in our school system. Trades are simply not taught anymore. The kids are only modeling what they see.

    I went to a tiny catholic school in South Texas and even WE had a shop program. You could learn woodwork, welding, automotive. . . this was all at our disposal and it influenced us. Now what do kids have? The internet. We really had no idea how lucky we were to have this influence that helped us become competent functioning and independent adults.

    We are raising and teaching an entire generation to be consumers, not producers, and that is a sad sad thing. I still have hope. We, as parents, need to demand trades in our schools as a viable alternative to college, or maybe in addition to college. Either way, we’re responsible to teach the next generation.

    • Mark D

      I agree with you on learning trades; my high school was one of the only “integrated” school around, meaning we had a full voc-tech curriculum in the same building as AP computer science classes.

      But the flip side of this is that, while your average kid can’t tell a Philips from a flathead, your average shop guy couldn’t tell C++ from HTML. Time has a way of making us all look like cynical, bitter old relics, unfortunately.

      If its any consolation, a lot of guys my age are getting back into actually fixing/making/customizing things with their hands, simply because we’ve kind of burnt out on the whole mass consumerism thing. See also: hipster mopeds.

  • Mattro

    awesome video, and it makes it feels very lucky: i was born late in my parents’ life-cycle and my father was (is) a master-class mechanic. at 73 years old, he’s a wealth of seemingly infinite mechanical knowledge — old school, get-in-there-and-figure-it-out knowledge.

    he physically built the garage he made his trade in for decades and made/lived a good life with our family doing it. nothing disappoints me more than the fact that i didn’t absorb every tiny fraction of information i could have when i was growing up.

    it’s my generation, the x’s and the y’s, who wanted more, faster, and with less effort and ever-littler understanding of what it took to source, make, and maintain all those myriad objects of our fleeting desires.

    here’s to men like Adam and men like my father. to everyone getting in there and figuring it out.

  • mugget

    Cool vid. Well, great vid! Makes me wanna do something constructive, build something. said to myself I wouldn’t sit around too much tonight – I’ve gotta put my motard back together. Not quite the same as restoring and old bike and no doubt making the custom parts that go along with that, but that’s all I’ve got right now – so I’ll do it!

  • MotoRandom

    Andrew- I really enjoyed your cinematography on this film. The pan/tracking shots of the shop and the subtle use of depth of field shifts was spot on. It fit the subject perfectly and came across as good use of technique instead seeming gimmicky or overplayed. Very artistic, all around. I hope that you have further opportunity to explore this subject deeper and would certainly love to see one that is even longer. As you can tell from the responses here, we are all eating this right up. Make more!

    As far as the subject goes I whole hardily agree. Not only is there a lack of interest in machine and tool skills amongst the youth today, there is a distinct lack of interest in things mechanical. This is going to translate into huge challenges for the transportation industry trying to capture the youth demographic in new vehicle sales. These kids want their gadgets. They want their transportation to function as simply as their 360/PS3 does. The mechanical involvement that we all love so much is not even on their radar. I don’t think this is just an example of us old farts griping about the youngsters. There is a huge paradigm shift taking place. Back in the 70s I learned how to wrench when I was 12. By the time I learned how to drive, I already done so many vehicle repairs it was second nature to me. Now, I have a 20 year old son in college for PC tech who has never been behind the wheel, let alone popped a hood. He just has no interest. I have talked to several other parents who have kids old enough to drive that do not have their license. Between texting and social networking on the Internet, there is no impetuous to have the freedom to travel at will. Surely the social needs of interaction with friends was significant factor pushing us to develop the skills to become mobile. The lack of funds probably pushed a lot of us into vehicles with shoddy reliability. Wrenching skills were just part of the experience. Way cheaper to pull some parts than pay someone else to do the whole deal. How many times did you have a buddy run you across town to that little whole-in-the-wall parts shop that was cheaper than “Big Brand Supply”? It’s just they way things were. But that is no longer the case. I think it behooves us to wake up and really pay attention to the changes we are deep in the middle of. It most certainly will have an effect on the future of motorcycling, and thus on all of us who love it so much.

  • Andy Keech

    makes me want to move to Philly to work for this guy.

  • adam cramer