Given the drop in value of the British pound, buying British bikes with US $ seems to make some sense for the first time in several years. (Sorry, stapfam).
I was also doing some window shopping over the weekend at the website of Bob Jackson.
A classic steel lugged Bob Jackson touring frame is 390 pounds sterling. Deduct 15% VAT (which US buyers don't need to pay), add 90 pounds for delivery to the U.S., and you get frame and fork for a bit under $600 US... A couple of hundred dollars more than what you'd pay for a plain Surly frame...
I don't know where else one might buy a lugged steel frame for that price right now.
Thorn Cycles just posted a notice on their website saying they're going to be raising prices soon - might be a chance to buy one of their touring bikes before prices go up (in dollar terms, they were *very* expensive last summer, now just expensive)....I think I've read that Thorn sources their frames in Asian (Taiwan?) so they probably do need to raise their prices quickly. Thorn's heavy-duty touring bikes are supposed to be some of the best expedition tourers anywhere; their lighter weight bikes (the Audax models) look like great multi-purpose century, commuting, and light touring bikes. Their base models would now cost a bit over $1,000 US before shipping.
(Of course, the reason the pound has dropped is because the world's financial markets are collapsing, so consult your financial advisor before following this advice...on the other hand, if your retirement account has already fallen to virtually nothing, why not spend what's left on a bike?)