MY MG SUMMER 2017 1/30

On our way to the tech seminar in Solvang, Saturday, 6/17

To the NAMGAR GT-42 also in Solvang

And to the NAMGBR MG2017 meet in San Diego

Thus begins my blog for this summer’s MG events:

We left Grand Rapids, Michigan, this morning about 11:00 am in the Dodge Journey, rented from Enterprise at the Grand Rapids Airport, at 45321 miles.  We trust that today’s driving has aired out the cigarette stink or inured us to the odor.  Arrived in Rolla, Missouri, this evening about 9:00 pm, at 45893 miles.  That’s 572 miles in about 11 hours (we started on EST, spending the night on CST)

Took I-196 from Grand Rapids to Benton Harbor, then I-94 to I-80.  Used the EZ Pass for the FIRST TIME as we whisked along I-80 past Joliet to I-55 south.  Armed with Jerry McClanahan’s EZ66 Guide for Travelers, we left I-55 and picked up the original Route 66 in Wilmington, Illinois, where we immediately spied the “Gemini Giant.”   At Braceville we were stopped for ten minutes while some 100 tractors of all kinds crossed the road in front of us.  The deputy let us continue, but as I looked east, there were another 100 tractors coming toward the same intersection.  Old men, young men, women – What a sight!

In Odell we saw the restored Standard Station and in Pontiac we viewed an incredibly beautiful courthouse.  For miles we paralleled the crumbling and weed infested southbound lanes of the now abandoned Route 66.  We missed the Bunyan Giant in Atlanta but stopped at the Octagon Library, perfectly suited for each of us.  Mary is a librarian; I am an octogenarian (oops – octophile).   We climbed back onto I-55 and headed for St Louis.

We were so excited about viewing the “Gateway to the West” arch that we missed our turn for I-44 but were able to ease back onto it within minutes.  From I-64 I could just see the tower of the St Louis train station, the only building it St Louis worth saving, according to Frank Lloyd Wright.  It was still another hundred miles to our first evening’s night away from home.  That gave us another hour and a half to solve the world’s problems.  The fellow on the front desk at the Hampton Inn here in Rolla is a nuclear engineering student.

I only took one technical call today while on the road.  It was from Henri Dopierala of Northport, NY, who traded a running British Motorcycle for a 1950 TD (pictured).  Henri told me of his time working for the UN in Egypt (source of the British motorcycles he restores), Syria, Gaza Strip, Central African Republic, and other fascinating locales.  He ended up with an XPEG engine along with the original XPAG with the trade.  There’s a lot of work on that trailer!

John Twist & Mary James

I’m  now scheduled for a  Tech Seminar in Tacoma, Washington, September 16th, Saturday, at Matt Graham’s Brooklands British.

I will present another Tech Seminar preceding the Hunt Country Classic in Washington, DC, October 7th, Saurday, sponsored by the Washington DC MGCC.

AND!!  Perhaps another next winter in Tallahassee FL — stay tuned.

TECH TIP:  Replace two prong flashers with the EL-12 and the three prong flashers with the EL-13 (negative earth only) from NAPA.  These will work with LED lights AND give a steady rhythm to the flash rate.

Merry Christmas Fellow Enthusiasts!

Friday, December 23, 2017

University Motors Ltd has now transformed into University Motors Online.  Although I will no longer work on your MG in my shop, I will be available for consultation, technical advice, and technical shows and seminars.

I became aware of MGs in England on a trip with the Boy Scouts in 1962 when I was 13.  By 1965 I resolved to own an MG and purchased my first MG in 1968.  I was first paid to work on another’s MG in May,1971; resolved to devote my life to MG in Nov 71; spent a year in England 1972/1973 at the original University Motors; and in January 1975 opened my own University Motors.  I was joined in the business by my future wife, Caroline, in early 1977.  We operated UML at two locations for 34 years.  In the summer of 2009 I shut down the business (the economy was terrible and Caroline was dying of cancer), only to reopen in the spring of 2010 after Caroline’s death.  We soon moved to our present location and operated from our Patterson Avenue address from April 2011 until the first of this month when Forrest Johnson of Rusty Moose Garage assumed the operations.

It has been an incredible run!  In my 46 years in the trade and operating as University Motors for 42 years, we’ve enjoyed many successes and met so many great and wonderful owners!  We sponsored 30+ Summer Parties; 30+ years of on-site Technical Seminars; formed up the North American MGB Register, the British Motor Trade Association, and the West Michigan “Old Speckled Hen” MG Car Club. In addition, we serviced thousands of MGs.  Now it’s come full circle.  I travelled to England in October of this year to present tune-up seminars at the MG Owners’ Club near Cambridge.  Further, I have been named as a charter inductee at the Moss Motors British Sports Car Hall of Fame.  But, I’m not really re-tiring – it’s more like re-treading.

I had seriously considered another auction for equipment and memorabilia but that is now unnecessary.  The heavy shop equipment was sold to the firm moving into this building (Corvette and muscle car restoration).  Forrest has the used parts.  The new parts were sold as a package.  The specialty tools I’m selling within the trade.  Some of the memorabilia will appear on eBay.

Instead of an auction, we are celebrating University Motors’ 42nd Birthday and John Twist’s Retreading on Saturday, January 21st.  It will be a PARTY, not a wake!

Freed from the daily business operations, I shall have more time to dedicate to MG technical publications and presentations.  My website will remain active.  I will continue to make YouTube videos and attend the various MG events throughout the country.  I am available to present technical seminars for your club, organization, or business.  A brochure describing lectures and seminars will soon be posted on the website.  You will always be able to contact me via the website or email.  I shan’t be far away!


University Motors 42nd Birthday and John Twist’s Retreading Party – Saturday, Jan 21st, 2017, at our Patterson address in Grand Rapids, Michigan, from Noon to 4pm

Gearbox Workshop (MGB 4 synchro) – Monday/Tuesday, February 20/21, 2017

Gearbox Seminar (MGA/MGB 3 Synchro) – Monday/Tuesday, February 27/28

Gearbox Seminar (TD/TF) – Monday/Tuesday, March 13/14

Carburetter Workshop – Monday/Tuesday, March 20/21

All workshops are limited to five participants.  Cost for the two days is $400.  Email me for the registration / hotel information.  I can schedule an additional date if more than five people wish to attend.

John Twist

University Motors Online

616 301 2888




University Motors On-Line

As of December 1, 2016 University Motors no longer services vehicles.

John Twist is going to continue in the community, and will continue to offer technical advice and put on seminars.

Forrest Johnson (University Motors Mechanic) has absorbed the customers and the work, and is moving the business to Grand Haven, MI.  You can get in touch with him at this link: Rusty Moose Garage Also note that Mike Blackport(University Motors Manager)  and Curt Saunier(University Motors Mechanic) are going with Forrest, so the quality of the work will still be exemplary.

Call John for technical questions and seminars, 616-307-6737

Call Mike or Forrest for service work, 616-301-2888

Keep an eye on this site, we’ll update with new events soon!