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MG TD TF 1500 - Really bad news

I've never used John's services but he will be greatly missed.

Hi All,

Congratulations to John T on a career in 'maintaining the MG breed'.John's technical advice,experience,and general know how,have touched many MG enthusiasts of the various MG models.His videos are a very useful reference for both the novice and long time owners.
My only regret is that I have not had the pleasure of actually meeting the man as I live a little too far away in Western Australia !

Rob Grantham

I really didn't understand this economy until's worse than I knew...
Bob Dougherty

The only mechanical thing I passed up on doing myself I sent to him, my 5.125:1 to 4.3:1 conversion. Excellent turn around and work. He is quite a guy, a fellow Scouter and very very knowledgeable about all things MG.
Dave Braun

I've enjoyed immensely watching John's YouTube videos and reading at his technical notes. I wonder if John would consider publishing this information on DVD. I'll ask and let you know what I find out.

Larry Shoer

I have met John and bought from him occasionally. In the last few years he had come to Carlisle's Import swap meet.

The best in the MG business.

I hope he keeps the website up.


Ira Spector (PA)

I have been attending John's technical seminars for 16+ years. Some, like the carb rebuild, I attended several times. We have been to many summer parties, too. His daughter used to babysit our two girls so we could attend the banquets and enjoy the shows. John has always been available to answer questions and to calm me down in times of MG stress. I have had work done at University Motors on several of my MG's throughout the years and he has always taken care of the problems. My family has always considered the Twist's and the University Motors "family" a part of our extended MG family. My hope is that John and his family will still remain a presence in the MG community.


1952 TD
1958 MGA
1966 MGB
1969 MGC-GT
Tony Shoviak

i just met john last year at the british swap in illinois. sorry to hear this news. god speed john. regards, tom
tom peterson

Really really really bad news!
John & Greg worked on my car shortly after I purchased it. (Being a newbie I had done a lot of work on it, but though it would be a good idea to have a pro check it over). Some of the smartest money I ever spent on 7427. John is just a super person, gave me a "list" of what he felt the car needed to have done to be "right". More important than doing all the work, Mr. Twist gave me the confidence to do much of the work myself, yet was always there to advise & help me through the process.
Only comparison I can think of is that hearing this news would be like going to church and finding it had closed.
We are losing the holy grail of M.G. repair shops. We can only hope John will remain active in other things M.G.
David 55 TF1500 #7427
David Sheward

Sorry to hear this. I also recall John's wife is very ill. Need to keep them in our thoughts and prayers. I have talked to John a couple times at GOF's and he is a super guy. Really incredible to watch him lay hands on some carbs and tune them, diagnose problems, etc. Beautiful job on rebushing shifter housing, carbs, etc. over the years. George
George Butz

John is one of the truly great resources that we have in our hobby, and he will be greatly missed. Anyone who has had the opportunity to observe him 'live' is simply at a loss for words.

I fear that this is a reflection of much more than the Michigan economy or even the national or global economy. It is simply our society's demographics. In other words, we are getting old and those younger than us are finding different things to do with their time. This is not just Brit cars, but the entire car-hobby.

Let's not boo-hoo, but find better ways to appreciate each other. This website is one of the best ways to do that!

Tom Balutis

I've also met John at several GOF's, the first time in St. Augustine, FL many years ago. Although he didn't know me from Adam he treated my wife and I as 'best friends' and went out of his way to talk to us. I hope he continues to be part of the MG community.
Gene Gillam

What a shame!

John also did my rear-end conversion. Never met the man in person, but did talk to him on the phone. What a great asset to the MG community. His services will be missed.
Evan Ford TD27621 EXL/NA


I couldn't begin to count the times that, when a querk in one of my MG's would be making me crazy, I would turn to this BBS and the manual-and then I'd go to John's website and see how he would do it!

If we all had to pay for the advantage we took of his generosity, he'd be the richest guy (or maybe the only rich guy left) in Michigan!

This will be a huge loss to our family of MG enthusiasts. Hopefully, down the road, John can see his way to stay involved in some way.
Steven Tobias


This is disturbing news. I have used John's services and his training sessions. In fact was just trying to figure out how to work in a trip to Michigan to get my B tuned and worked on.

Johns shop will be greatly missed. Hoping we have years of his knowledge and perhaps a few more videos.

Some really profound thoughts in these comments. David, George, and Tom, particularly. We never know what we're going to really miss until it's gone...

I'm blinded by the tragedy that our hobby cannot support the likes of ONE John Twist; ONE University Motors. Yes, we'll continue to see John's expertise pop up here and there, but what, and who, is going to pay for it? John has given his entire working life to our cause - presuming that our demand for his services would keep him in business. Is it our fault that he was wrong? What can we do, what must we do, to insure that there is a lucrative livelihood for those who will provide the expertise we need?

Deeply troubled in Michigan,


Allen Bachelder

It's a real shame. John's 1 pm 1-on-1 phone calls are going to be missed, along with many other things. Hard to comprehend how the Detroit automaker situation could devastate John's unique business.
Bud Krueger

I met John Twist at the Battle of the Brits in Sterling Heights, Michigan several years ago. I was a new owner of a TF1500 at the time, and John spent a considerable amount of time looking over my wee car. He commented on the "correctness" of the car, and offered me advice on some minor cosmetic issues. I found him to be sincerely helpful in sharing his knowledge, and the love of these little cars. When he left to continue his visit at the gathering, he told me that he would send some helpful information to me in the mail. A couple of week later a large and heavy envelope arrived at my house. It contained copies of numerous beautiful hand drawn sketches and helpful comments on everything TF1500... A few lears later I undertook a comlete rebuild of the engine and referred to those drawings and notes that John had sent, along with the shop manual, as I poured hard work, and a great deal of love and care, into the effort. Ever since then the car runs as if it has just left the factory, all those years ago, in England...

In reading an earlier thread ("John Twist Update") John's own words describe his sadness and frustration that has led to the closing of his business. As he mentioned, the government is firmly in the hands of the liberals. The direction taken by the State of Michigan government, as well as those in Washington, has brough the "house of cards" down on all of us.

If you are reading this, John, know that there will be thousands of prayers offered up for the health of your dear wife. Know also that you are respected for your contribution to the preservation of our little corner of automotive history, and that respect reaches every continent on the planet. God Bless & "Safety Fast"......


Rod Macleod - TF1500 - HDB46/6798 "Molly"
Rod Macleod

These comments about John are all wonderful and most appropriate. However, I submit that there is something even more serious. I believe that this is a perfect example of the disassembly of North America. It's right there in front of us. re we going to go on simply observing and tisking or are we going to start action to reverse this disaster? I've already started putting together my "to do" list.
I realize many feel that comments of this kind have no place on this thread and I appologise to any who feel abused. However, such positions may contribute directly to the sad story displayed above.

With warm regaards, Dick Thomas
Dick Thomas

rod, if it is "liberals" fault, interesting that john did not go out of business during 8 years of the clinton administration. i respectfully offer that this website probably had more to do with university motors demise than "liberals". why take the car to john when you can come here and find the answers to your problems and you can source parts from around the world. john seems to have a love for and specializes in a car whose owners lile to do their own work. the car is simple enough and parts are available to allow owners to do just that. R.I.P. university motors, i think we helped kill you. regards, tom
tom peterson

Don't think we had anything to do with the closing, in fact I'm sure John received a bunch of work from referrals from the board. The locals have sent a couple sets of carb bodies to be rebushed, a tranny shifter housing for rebushing, and purchased some rear end parts from John. Of course those of us on the board do much of our own work, but many/most MG owners do not. There are 5 T-series cars in the area here- two owners do no work at all (not even oil changes), one very simple things (attempt to install new door locks), another a few more things (brakes, oil changes), and me everything (except machine work,body work, etc). The owners that don't wrench have to take their cars to the local import shop (just down the street from my office- two guys working out of the back of an old Texaco station) or pester me to fix something. From reading John's post elsewhere, it seemed to be partly due to the total collapse of the Michigan economy (ie killed any walk-in/drive-in business), and the national economy in general. The closes equivalent to University Motors in Florida (Glenn's MG Repair) does many of the things UM did- body work, total restoration, etc. and has stayed reasonably busy. The country is in a huge mess and racing down a really bad road, but I think that discussion is for another thread or place. George
George Butz

The latest morning news headline is "Bankrupt G.M. Says It Owes $172 Billion." This fact certainly doesn't bode well for the Michigan economy or the US in general. GM's decline has been long and painful for the US economy. Last fall, the Bush Administration gave GM and Chrysler $17.4 Billion. Wonder what will happen next? What a mess.
Robert Rutschman

Robert asks: Wonder what will happen next?

Give 'em another $30 Billion dollars and hope that someone besides the UAW and bondholders buy the cars that they produce. I notice that Obama is going to "jumpstart" the industry by renewing the government fleet vehicles...wonder if Ford will be allowed to compete in the bidding...and also wonder if our government will trade them in in the next couple of years on "new, fuel efficient" models.

Gene Gillam

IMHO (legal disclaimer)
I've been holding my tongue on "GM" for some time but they dug their own grave as far as I'm concerned. The last (and I DO mean LAST) new GM car we will ever own was 92 Olds Achieva w/quad4. From the first oil change it had water in the oil from bad head. The dealer denied there was a problem, and so did GM until it was "out of warranty" because it had "too many miles" by the time they admitted the problem.(by 2 miles!)

Meanwhile I was driving a 85 Nissan 300zx and was 3rd owner on it. Nissan sent me a letter telling me there was a problem with injectors and they would fix at no cost. They stood behind their product even though that car was used and had 150k miles on it. (repair bill was over $3k and cost me $0!)

Now ask me how much of MY money do I think GM deserves to save their ar*e? It's sad so many people will be out of a job but I sure don't feel it is my job to save this poorly run corporation that has been soaking it's consumers for years and padding there pockets with the profits.
"Vented" David
David Sheward

In 1980, we bought an Olds wagon with a diesel engine for $10,000. We quickly figured out that it was a pc of junk. GM was forced by the courts to extend the warranties on these cars, but after 2 years, the same Olds dealer offered us $2100 for the car in a trade. I know that it is a long time ago, but these things are hard to forget! At around the same time, my cousin had one of the first Honda Accords in the US. After four years and around 100,000 miles, they approached him and asked of it would be okay if they kept his car for a couple of weeks, while they gave him a loaner. They replaced the front fenders and the complete cylinder head because they had experienced some problems in those areas! His car had no problems and the only service to date was routine. To me, this signaled the beginning of the end for GM!
Steven Tobias

the thread has drifted away from university motors but i go with the flow here. the worst car i ever owned was a 1978 honda accord. purchased new, the car ran fine until 18,000 miles. at 18,000 the car began to run terribly. the dealership in dekalb, il wanted $485 for a new carb. i was never so glad to get rid of a car. i have a 1997 mercury mountaineer with 195,000 and the car has been flawless. i will not by a foreign make. (other than the TD of course) regards, tom
tom peterson

My dad bought a '77 Datsun 280Z in Jan. '77 (I still have it!). This car had true multi-port EFI (made under Bosch license), rubber o-rings around the front grease caps (try to find that on a US car of that vintage)and slick-shifting 5 speed among other attributes. This car was so far ahead technoligically than anything US-built, and was so for years. My college friend had a Vega- we put the hottest 2 stroke plug in it with an extender to avoid fouling-it was a total pos in general. Then he had an Olds Omega- you had to have 100lbs of sand in the trunk to keep from swapping ends when you stopped. The 4 speed shifter and clutch were appallingly bad. His dad went to school with the owner of the Olds dealer in Covington, Ga, bought one of the first Olds diesels, and we picked it up for his dad. When we got to his house, I checked it out, and found a huge pool of oil under the motor (the first of several motors in this car)-seems the rear main bearing area of the block broke on many the first time they were started). Dad recently had his rear brakes wear out in his '05 Freestyle minivan at 21,000 miles. Seems Ford put out a bulletin stating the pads were defective and they would pay- if you had it done by the end of 2007. Really nice of them. My wife had 3 Ford Exploders over 4 years (2000-2004 model years)-problems: the rear glass came loose, an ignition switch failed, massive transmission fluid leak, 3 compass modules failed (says you are going east into the sunset), had to slam a door hard to get the window to go up and down, etc., etc. Enterprise rental knew me on a first name basis. I had a '99 Taurus with a loud droning resonance at idle that the dealer owner said "sounded like a foghorn". Was unfixable and I had to go to arbitration and won. I could go on and on with my and my buddies' horror stories about Detroit iron. My relatively young office staff drives a Maxima, a 3-series BMW, a Jetta, Pontic Vibe (Toyota mechanicals), Acura, VW new beetle, and one person a Dodge SUV to pull her kid's racecar trailer. Read consumer reports about Chrysler products. Yes I know Detroit the quality gap has closed. However, I will alway forever remember the lady from Ford that told me the Taurus "had a twin-cam engine in it and it was suppose to buzz and resonate" and fought the arbitarion tooth and nail- they should have sent a zone tech rep out to look at the car. Nissan on the other hand put out an extended service campaing on my old Maxima alternator (it had failed and been replaced out of warranty)- they reibursed me for the first one, and installed a new redesigned one free of charge at about 60K. miles. Guess why I drive a Nissan and not a Ford? Lastly, what is a foreign make? Ford Fusions are made in Mexico, Ford Explorer transmisions were made in France, BMWs in SC, Nissans in Tennessee, Hondas in Ohio, etc. This was way too long, sorry about that. Hate to say it , but Detroit got what they deserved (except the bailout that I will have to help pay for! ) Politics aside, it was the products, service, etc. for many years that finished them off.George
George Butz

This thread was discussed between 28/05/2009 and 02/06/2009

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