John Twist is the MG guru behind Michigan’s University Motors who has helped countless people maintain, restore, and understand their MGs. He has run a successful shop, has an informative video series, and now is an international speaker. Twist will be inducted into the British Sports Car Hall of Fame on Friday, June 2nd.
John’s first MG experience was in high school in Marshall, Michigan. His best friend had received a 1957 MGA from his father, and it was in this MGA that John first rode, first opened a workshop manual, and first was towed by another car. While accompanying his friend to a foreign car workshop in a nearby town to have the SU carburetors adjusted — a task no mere mortal would consider — John spied a gold MG TD in the corner of the workshop. Never especially interested in cars, certainly never a “gearhead,” this MG grabbed his attention — and kept it! He resolved to purchase a MG TD at the earliest opportunity. This was 1964.
After a stint in the military, journeys and working in Europe and the US, and many other adventures, Twist opened University Motors as a full-time business on Saturday, January 25th, 1975, three years and two months after he had embarked on his path towards becoming an MG dealer. In the beginning, John worked on all foreign vehicles: Minis, Saabs, Triumphs, Austins, Morrises, Fiats, Austin Healeys, Datsuns, Humbers, and more. Thompson E Clay, local filmmaker, proposed to John that he quickly restrict his trade to “just MG.” Soon John narrowed his focus to “just British” [Ed: we like that!] and by 1977, to just MG. The rest, as they say, is history.
For a full biography of John Twist, makes sure to check out this University Motors page.
Note: This is part of an ongoing series focusing on the 23 individuals who will be inducted into the British Sports Car Hall of Fame in ceremonies on June 2nd, 2017, at the Hall of Fame in Petersburg, VA.