All posts by universityltd
New University Motors Website!
John Twist has a new website to represent the shift he made in 2017 from business owner to international instructor.
UniversityMotorsLtd.com will remain active to commemorate John and Caroline’s legendary MG repair business that served customers at three West Michigan locations from 1975 to 2016.
UniversityMotors.Online will be the new home for John’s teaching, travel schedule, videos, and MG Tech Tips.
The Facebook group and YouTube channel remain the same.
Come visit UniversityMotors.Online!
University Motors 48th Birthday Party!
Saturday, January 21, 2023 from 1:00– 4:00 pm
John Twist brought back the University Motors Birthday Party tradition. The first location of University Motors opened in January 1975.
John hosted friends, former customers, UM employees, and MG fans at the Wolverine Room of DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Grand Rapids on January 21 from 1:00-4:00 pm.
They enjoyed chili, birthday cake, charity raffle & cash bar. When it’s freezing outside, we enjoy warm MG fellowship inside!
John Twist’s Fall 2022 East Coast Seminars
John Twist’s 2021 Calendar
I thought I would be travelling the USA from coast to coast in 2020. Instead, I travelled the Globe with my bi-monthly Zoom gatherings, hearing from MG lovers on every continent except Antarctica! I hope 2021 will bring the opportunity for more gatherings in-person, but until that time, I am continuing to offer Zoom gatherings on Monday nights.
I am available for virtual lectures, workshops, seminars, and one-on-ones for individuals and groups. I had a wonderful time Zooming into many car club meetings this past year. Please contact me at John@UniversityMotorsLtd.com for more information.
To participate in the online Tech Zooms, please sign up for my newsletter.
*denotes an in-person event (pending due to COVID restrictions)
|02/28/21||Sunday||Gilmore Car Museum||Lecture*|
|06/05/21||Sat.||Moss Motors, Petersburg VA||AMGCRA National Meet*|
|06/17/21||Thu/Sun||Atlantic City NJ||MG International – 2021*|
|08/26/21||Thu/Fri||Altoona PA||Tech Seminar w/Jim Pastore*|
|08/28/21||Sat/Sun||Altoona PA||Central PA British Car Show*|
|09/03/21||Fri/Sun||Portland OR||All British Field Meet*|
John Twist’s Technical Seminars 2018
For a list of all of our upcoming events or features, visit our events page.
KIMBER FESTIVAL, Hammondsport, New York
Friday and Saturday April 13 and 14, 2018
This is a Friday and Saturday event for all MG enthusiasts with many speakers covering a variety of MG topics. Included is a tour of the Glen H Curtis Museum. I will present a paper, “Tuning the XPAG Engine.”
NEMGTR Chesapeake Chapter April Tech Session, Rockville, MD
Saturday and Sunday April 21 and 22, 2018
This is a two-day seminar during which I’ll be working on eight to a dozen MGs. You can sign up to bring your MG to the workshop, or, you can sign up just to watch for one or both days. The MGs have issues from ignition to suspension. This is my fourth visit with this great group.
!! STOP PRESS !!
There are still about six spots open for MGs that MUST be filled by Sunday evening April 8th. This is largely a T type organization, but MGAs and MGBs are welcome. Costs, times, etc are available from Charlie Adams. Email Charlie TODAY: email@example.com or call him NOW at 703-582-3757! If you cannot raise Charlie on the phone, contact Milton Babirak by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 703-501-7924. Let’s make this event a success!
JD’s British Cars MGA/MGB Tune-up Seminar, Nashville, TN
Saturday April 28, 2018
During this one-day course, I will explain the “hows and whys” of tuning the MGA/MGB while tuning an MGB in JD’s shop. This is a lecture and hands-on all-day event. You will know HOW to tune your MG when you leave this course. Printed material accompanies the lecture and hands-on demonstrations.
Phone (615) 361-3887 or email: Britcarfxr@yahoo.com
Participants at the 2017 tech seminar at Elite Vehicle Restorations, Denver, NC
Quality Coaches Technical Seminar, Minneapolis, MN
Saturday and Sunday May 5 and May 6, 2018
This will be my eighth time to Mark Brandow’s shop in Minneapolis. In the past we’ve discussed electricals and tune-ups, rebuilt an overdrive gearbox and an MGB short block, performed the Complete Lubrication (Boot to Bonnet inspection – lubrication – adjustment). Two full days of thoroughly MG subjects! We are still working on topics for this spring’s event.
Details: http://quality-coaches.com or phone 612 824-4155
Carlisle Import Car Show, Carlisle, PA Weekend of May 18 through May 20, 2018
Neither Carl Heideman of Electic Motorworks nor I will be able to attend Carlisle this year. We’re hoping to get back in 2019.
Memphis British Car Club Rolling Tech Session, Memphis, TN
Saturday June 9, 2018
During this rolling tech session, I will look at about 20 MGs, TRs, and AHs throughout the day. Each vehicle will have its own tuning issues – some of which I will be able to sort out in the time I have – some will require more work later. This is an excellent opportunity to view a number of British cars to see the similarities and the differences – as well as the tuning issues encountered. Steve already has a full list of cars for me to work on, but there is plenty of room to come down and spend some time or all day watching.
Details: Steve Wayne 901-921-7709
John at the Toronto Car Club Tech Seminar last spring.
NAMGAR GT-43, Richmond, Virginia
Thursday and Friday June 14 and June 15, 2018
I will work on as many MGs as there is time for Thursday and Friday of this week-long MGA event in Richmond. It’s fun to come and just hang out. There will be a lot of banter, flying spanners, and a lot to learn.
NAMGBR MG2018, Gettysburg, PA
Tuesday June 19, 2018
As at the NAMGAR event, I will work on a number of MGs throughout the day Tuesday. I’ve performed this rolling tech for many years at many NAMGBR and NAMGAR events. Some enthusiasts wander by; some stay nearly all day. There are a greater variety of problems diagnosed and solved than one might see in a shop for a week!
GOF Central, Delevan, WI Rolling Tech
Wednesday June 27, 2018
As before, this will be a rolling tech, checking timing and carbs and diagnosing other MG problems.
British Motoring Festival, Windsor (Halifax), Nova Scotia
Saturday and Sunday July 14 and July 15, 2018
This weekend includes two events: an MGA/MGB tune-up seminar on Sunday, as the one in Nashville; and, a rolling tech session during the Saturday event.
Technical Seminar, Altoona, PA
Thursday and Friday August 23 and August 24, 2018
British Car Show , Altoona, PA
Saturday and Sunday August 25 and August 26, 2018
This event begins with a two-day seminar at the shop of Jim Pastore. Jim, with his wife Lori, organizes the British Car Show at DelGrosso’s Amusement Park which takes place the following Sunday. Both events are a great time! This is about the tenth time I’ve visited Altoona. In the past, we’ve tuned MGBs, rebuilt engines (twice), rebuilt gearboxes, rebuilt carburetters, and covered electrix. This year’s subject is still up in the air, but it’s always a great time.
Contact Jim Pastore: email@example.com
GOF West, South Lake Tahoe, NV
Week of September 10 through September 14, 2018
Again, I’ll have my hands in a score of MGs throughout the day in a Rolling Tech Session. More details coming.
I hope to be able to organize a seminar in St Louis, MO, at John Mangles’ shop before the end of summer. Also, I plan to return to England in the autumn to do several seminars there again. If you are interested in hosting a seminar, either through a business or club, please drop me a note: JohnTwist@UniversityMotorsLtd.Com
I was saddened to learn that the Radiator Hospital in Grand Rapids has closed down. They repaired our MG radiators for 30 years.
I was just at Southwest Sandblasting in Grand Rapids – Randy is continuing his fine service. Find him at: 616 243 1611.
Casey DeHollander and Dave Stelma are running an excellent machine shop – CD’s Engine Service in Hudsonville, MI. I was just there to drop off the pistons to my MGA engine and saw that Brian was assembling an XPAG engine. They know British! 616 662 1553. It’s difficult to find a good machine shop, but CD’s has offered us excellent service for several decades. Website: www.cdsengine.com
Whitepost Restorations just rebuilt a tandem MG Midget master cylinder for me. They’ve been rebuilding our master cylinders for 30 years, too. We’ve always enjoyed excellent service from them. Find Whitepost at: http://whitepost.com/
Sourcing original engine parts is trial and error on eBay. If you’re looking for factory original or high-quality parts, contact Basil Adams in California: 707 762 0974. He’s just helped me with some pistons and tri-metal rod bearings.
For used MG parts there is no one better or faster than Paul Dierschow at Sportscar Craftsmen in Arvada (Denver), Colorado. Paul has scores (hundreds?) of used MGs and can provide nearly any part in good, used condition. Plus, he can send it out same or next day! Phone 303 422 9272
My videographer, Dayton Dimond, is due back into Grand Rapids at the end of April. We have plans to re-commence making YouTube videos. I was surprised to find that the channel now shows 6.7 million views. Thanks to everyone for watching!
AUGUST 2017 UPDATE
UNIVERSITY MOTORS AUGUST UPDATE
MGB Engine Rebuild Seminar, Wed-Thu, Aug 23-24, Altoona, PA. I will rebuild a five main MGB engine and start it up over the course of two days. This is a great opportunity to learn about engine rebuilding from start to finish. This event precedes the 23rd Annual British Car Festival on Fri-Sun, Aug 25-27, in Altoona. There is room for just a few more participants. For information about the engine rebuild seminar or the car show, please contact: Jim Pastore at (814) 931- 0627 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Find more info about the show at: http://www.pabritishcar.com/
MG Tune-up Seminar, Sat, Sep 16, Tacoma, WA. Matt Graham of Brooklands British Car will host this tune-up seminar. I will present a “Complete Tune-up” throughout the day in addition to answering as many questions as come up. Participants will take away a small pamphlet including tune-up charts for the MGs from 1946-1980. If you have ever wanted to tune your MG correctly, THIS is your opportunity to view the correct sequencing of all the steps. Plus, it’s great MG fellowship! The cost is $100/person for this one-day seminar. The seminar is limited to 25 participants. Contact Matt directly to sign up: (253) 584-2033 or in WA State only (800) 244-4648 or via email: email@example.com. Visit Matt’s website: http://www.brooklandsbritish.com/
MG Tune-up Seminar, Sat, Oct 7, Chantilly, VA. The Washington DC Centre, MGCC, presents the 22nd Annual Hunt Country Classic car show on Sunday, Oct 8, at Middleburg, VA. The day before, at Randy Shuck’s shop in Chantilly, I will present my “Complete Tune-up.” In addition to tuning an MGB, I will answer as many questions as come up. Participants will take away a small pamphlet including tune-up charts for the MGs from 1946-1980. If you have ever wanted to tune your MG correctly, THIS is your opportunity to view the correct sequencing of all the steps. Plus, it’s great MG fellowship! The cost is $100/person for this one-day seminar. The seminar is limited to 25 participants. To sign up, contact:Jim Spurgeon at: (703) 680-6774 firstname.lastname@example.org For more info about the car show: http://www.mgcarclubdc.com/hcc/hcc_main.html
MG Seminars in England, Fall 2017
MGB Tune-up, Sat, Oct 14, MGOC Workshop Swavesey, Cambs, MGB Complete Lubrication, Sun, Oct 15, MGOC Workshop MGB Tune-up, Fri, Oct 20, Wroxall Abbey Hotel & Estate near Warwick, England MGA/Magnette Tune-up, Sat, Oct 21, Wroxall Abbey T Series Tune-up, Sun, Oct 22, Wroxall Abbey* (In association with the MG Octagon Car Club and the MG “T” Society)
Cost is £90 for each seminar. Wroxall Abbey is a wonderfully splendid country estate re-purposed into a hotel. They offer accommodations as well as an on-site restaurant and bar. There will be a dinner on Saturday evening, Oct 21st, at which I will be the guest speaker.
This offers a brilliant chance to book a trip to England, visit the sites your wife wishes to see, maybe Highclere Castle, aka Downton Abbey, AND attend a Tune-Up Seminar.
Wroxall Abbey: http://www.wroxall.com/ MG Owners’ Club: http://www.mgownersclub.co.uk/
Mike Blackport has updated my website – Thank you very much Mike!
There is now a PayPal button on the upper right side of the site through which you can make a contribution to my travel and office expenses. You might choose to donate because I’ve helped you on the phone or through a YouTube video. I still continue to answer technical calls and am able to answer a few emails. If you need an answer, CALL!
I want to thank Eli Albalancy and Wlliam Slabich who made contributions this past month.
WORKSHOP SPACE NEEDED!
I have been fortunate to have owned or had a workshop under lease for the past 45 years. Right now, I have nowhere to work. There are still a couple of projects I’m obligated to complete and I need 1000-1200 feet of space in the Grand Rapids area. This could be stand-alone space or shared space. It could be in a commercial district, it could be in a residential area. If you have space available or know someone who does, PLEASE contact me! John Twist (616) 307-6737.
MG SERVICE & RESTORATION
Forrest Johnson, Curt Saunier, and Mike Blackport continue the University Motors tradition of high quality service and restoration at the Rusty Moose Garage. Contact Mike at (616) 301-2888.
Twists and Turns California 2017 == 7/30 == Friday, June 16, 2017
We Departed Flagstaff, AZ, at 9:30 am with 47431 on the odometer. Arrived in Barstow, CA about 5:00 pm at 47732
That’s 301 miles in 7 1/2 hours or about an average of 40mph.
Today’s highlights were Mr D’z Diner, Oatman, AZ, and the Sitgreaves Pass.
On our way to breakfast we encountered Sgt Justin Bond and his service dog Boomer. Bond lost a leg in the Battle of Fallujah in Iraq. He is heavily involved in a veterans’ aid and relief organization: www.ourheroesdreams.org.
We left Flagstaff anticipating about a 400 mile run, one of the longest on this trip to California. We quickly quit I-40 at exit 139 onto Historic Route 66. From there the road runs very straight into Seligman. One of the MG enthusiasts following this blog suggested we stop there. It was good advice! Finally, we found a true tourist destination along Route 66. We observed about six tour buses, probably stopping there on their way to the Grand Canyon. The town was alive. Not only that, I spotted the first MGB on our trip – a highly modified pull handle MGB.
From Seligman we ran through endless lands, sparsely dotted with scrub. Route 66 is lightly travelled. We encountered only about one car per minute. The roadway is fenced, but only rarely did we see a lonely steer foraging in the browned weeds. Houses, or more likely ranches, were very few and very far between. There were occasional, modern Burma Shave signs along the fence lines. Here is one we particularly enjoyed:
T’would be more fun To go by air If we could put These signs up there Burma Shave
In the distance were hundred-car trains passing along the flats. We suddenly came upon the Grand Canyon Caverns. This was once the second most visited tourist attraction in Arizona! In the late morning, there were only a dozen cars or so parked around the grounds and motel. We didn’t view the caverns. Perhaps another time.
We continued to follow Route 66 into Kingman and lunched at Mr D’z Route 66 Diner. THIS was the perfect nostalgia diner experience of our trip! Two cheeseburgers, drinks, and onion rings tallied $29.00, including the tip. Expensive, certainly, but worth the experience.
We followed the road out of town only to find we were on our way to Las Vegas. Route 66 is not always well marked. We made our way back to I-40 west and immediately exited onto Arizona 10, Oatman Road, Historic Route 66. This was an adventure!
Vaughn Wasom, also a blog follower, encouraged me to visit Oatman. It is on the west side of the Black Mountains, and to get there one must crest Sitgreaves Pass, at an elevation of 3,586 feet. The desert floor looked to be 2000 feet below us. On this mountain road, Route 66 is about one lane wide, with a painted center line. We encountered only seven vehicles, two wanting to drive more quickly than I. As soon as possible I pulled over to let them pass. Coming towards us was a very large camper van. OMG! There are few guard rails and the drops are precipitous. We wanted to warn them!
The acrophobia I encountered at the Round Barn several days ago was but a whit compared to the near panic I felt ascending the east side of the mountains. Mr Wasom’s name was included in epithets as I neared panic. This is not a journey for the faint at heart. Nor is it an expedition on which one can be inattentive! Mary would exclaim,”Look at that!” as the landscape swept out for a hundred miles. I was looking at the center line. We did stop at the pinnacle of the pass to view the terrain stretched out before us. Mary, on the other hand, enjoyed every moment of this scary ascent. She even generously offered multiple times to take over the driving. I couldn’t bring myself to concede that my female companion was more courageous than I.
As we descended, we eventually came upon Oatman, a western village unequalled in my experience. As a lanky cowboy strode up the street, spurs jingling, loose burrows wandered the village street seeking fodder offered up by the tourists. I would never have hazarded upon this incredible sight had it not been for Vaughn’s insistence that we make the trip.
The landscape was rife with flowering cacti. Later we learned that touching these plants was a horror. I was amazed that the palm trees we saw later looked almost the same but taller.
From Oatman, Historic Route 66 winds to Golden Shores. Golden Shores? There wasn’t a drop of water for miles and the temperature was 110F. Then we spied Goose Lake and the Colorado River, replete with motor craft and fishing boats. Here we re-entered I-40.
The temperature never wavered more than five degrees. It finally showed 111F although the three men in the California visitor center told us it was 115F. Perhaps the Dodge’s thermometer maxes out at 111?
The visitor center was at Needles, home of Charles Schultz of Peanut’s fame. Then it was onto Barstow, home of the Fort Irwin National Training Center where my son James trained in September, 2011, prior to his deployment to Afghanistan. Dinner tonight was takeout from Subway which we enjoyed in the clean and quiet of the hotel breakfast section.
Twists and Turns California 2017 == 6/30 == June 15, 2017
Departed Gallup, NM about 9:00 am at 47105 on the odometer. Arrived in Flagstaff, AZ, perhaps as early as 5:00 pm at 47431. That’s 326 miles in 9 hours or about an average of 36 mph. We spent a lot of time at Painted Desert National Park and at Meteor Crater.
With the car full of our belongings and our stomachs full from the wonderful Hampton breakfast, we set out to traverse Route 66 from the eastern end of Gallup to points west.
We tried last night to view some of this but were foiled. Gallup has Indian artifacts, Indian Jewelry (wholesale AND retail), Cochina dolls, the works.
Gallup is a vibrant community. Not until we reached the far west end of Gallup did the blight of closed down gasoline stations and abandoned motels begin.
I-40 is the improved road and the preferable route, without question. But we continued on Route 66 which paralleled the new highway for miles, sometimes on one side, sometimes the other. There were some steep hills and roughly patched surfaces. At one turn under the expressway we espied this fascinating octagonal log cabin. We wondered if the octagonal structure was an aberration. Soon we were back on I-40 and stopped at Chambers to purchase gasoline.
The Shell station at Chambers was ALSO octagonal. Go figure. I was set upon by a young panhandler with a tale of woe. As he was painting his picture of a lost wallet, stolen cell phone, and broken vehicle, I suggested he’d have better luck with someone else. I saw him talking to the truckers as we left.
I was rewarded for my lack of philanthropy when I ignored a road closed sign on Route 66 and had to double back about five miles. Karma, I expect.
I-40 cuts through the middle of the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park. Mary has a national park pass so we saved the $20 entry fee.
The Painted Desert is reminiscent of our trip to the Badlands in South Dakota last summer. In fact, some of the literature described this area as “badlands.”
We saw a small “petrified forest” last summer, but the extent of the fossils today was enormous. The landscape is so stunning and simply cannot be captured with a hand-held camera.
Just before the Meteor Crater we dropped away from I-40 to visit the WigWam Motel at Holbrook, AZ.
Meteor Crater is a private enterprise. It’s facilities and presentation match any public museum I’ve ever visited. I’d been fascinated about Meteor Crater since I first read about it as a kid perusing the World Book Encyclopedia before bed. Mary and I were sitting in the theater, waiting for their excellent video to begin, when in walked part of the Ocean to Ocean GT-42 excursion. Follow their adventures on Facebook at “Ocean to Ocean GT-42.”
Flagstaff was a short run from Meteor Crater. We moved into our room and sat down to recount the past two days. As an aside, at this hotel, if one wants a room on the same floor as the front desk and lobby, ask for the “main floor,” not the first floor, which here is the basement. Actually, our rooms at each of the Hampton Inns we have visited thus far have been most satisfactory.
Twists and Turns California 2017 == 5/30 == June 14, 2017
Craig Perry from Colorado suggested this new title for my blog. Thanks Craig!
Departed Santa Rosa, NM about 9:00 am at 46808 on the odometer. Arrived in Gallup, NM about 5:30 pm at about 6:00 pm at 47105. That’s 297 miles in 9 hours or about and average of 33 mph. Again, we had a lot of stops.
We are on sensory overload. While much seems the same, more is so very diverse. The huge hemispherical blue sky is always brilliant. The landscape allows a line of sight that must be 50 miles. The desolation and abandonment of business districts spreads out all along Route 66. Shacks and trailers surrounded by volumes of junk give some communities the appearance of a third world nation save the air conditioning units in the windows. Yet other communities are engaged in urban development. Still others, not dependent on the tourist trade, are vibrant.
For miles we saw billboards for the Flying C Ranch. If there ever was a business dependent on highway signage, this was it! So we stopped to fill up and check out the wares. There were moccasins, Indian jewelry, plaster Indians, plaster horses, T shirts… THIS was souvenir haven, or so we thought. Our guide book praised Cline’s Corners but it was unclear whether they had gasoline.
Cline’s Corners had gasoline. They had a fifties era restaurant. They had everything that the Flying C Ranch had, and a hundred times more. This was TRULY souvenir heaven. We couldn’t help ourselves and purchased homemade fudge. Yum!
Albuquerque was the next stop. My great-grandfather died in Albuquerque in 1904. These high, dry communities were destinations for those with tuberculosis. He’d come to the southwest to gain a little more time. I knew little of the city or its early history. As it happened, the Albuquerque Art and History Museum is hosting a display of the “Lunger” community, so we spent a couple of hours there. Two old friends from Grand Rapids, sisters Mellisa and Hillary Ames, knew from following this blog that we would be in the area. They drove down from Taos, NM, to meet us at the museum. In spite of our 40+ year separation, we had no difficulty recognizing one another. We spent a couple hours at the snack bar catching up.
Then it was off to Cubero which contains the largestConfederate cemetery in the southwest. We were off the Garmin maps, driving on gravel roads only to find the gates closed. But I got the picture and bragging rights.
Grants, New Mexico, was one of those communities devastated by the lack of road traffic, but they were doing their best to improve Route 66 through the city. A beautiful median, trees along the boulevard, and revitalized motels evidenced the community’s efforts to lure new Route 66 travelers.
Next stop was the Continental Divide – where east meets west, at 7200 feet elevation. We tried to get a picture of the sign on the expressway, even though we were on Route 66, but it was terribly out of focus. This one was a lot better, anyway.
We rolled into Gallup about dinner time – WORN OUT. How driving wears one out is a mystery as it seems all ones does is sit there and occasionally turn the steering wheel. But by the time we got into the hotel room, everything hurt – my feet, my eyes, and my brain. I’ve never driven this far in such a short time in my life. Our attempts to find Route 66 in downtown Gallup in the dark with the neon signs touted in the guide book was for naught. We got lost. We really were on sensory overload and grateful to find our way back to the Hampton Inn without the Garmin.