(Last) Weekly Roundup: The Bumble In London

“Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” — Samuel Johnson, to James Boswell, 20 September 1777

Late last week, I found myself standing in the spot where Samuel Johnson finished his Dictionary Of The English Language. This was my second visit to London in just three weeks, but the first time I was booked very tight with work. For this trip, I resolved to enjoy the city, which I did indeed. Besides the visits to Dr. Johnson’s home and to various pubs at which the great man was reputed to have dined, I went through a veritable Franky Four Fingers montage of visits to tailors and watch shops. The things I commissioned will be trickling in over the course of the next twelve months, so I will have to learn patience.

For the impatient among whose numbers I still count myself, however, let’s cut directly to last week’s publications, shall we?

For TTAC, I considered the matter of the last sedan standing.

At R&T, I told a story about car dealers that seem to get away with everything and delivered a US-exclusive review of the Lotus Exige Cup 380. Now that is a hell of a car.

This week you’ll see two new-car reviews and a return to my usual triple-TTAC form, so stick around!

20 Replies to “(Last) Weekly Roundup: The Bumble In London”

  1. -Nate

    Thanx for the R & T $tealership article Jack ~ .

    I was lucky in that I only worked in Dealers Service Departments and they were still pretty shady and screwed their Mechanics almost as often as they did the
    Customers .

    Your endless love of fancy things amuses me .

    I should prolly buy at least one decent suit .


    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      My God, I’d forgotten about it.

      I really shouldn’t. I can’t afford to buy a single guitar pick after this trip.

      MUST. NOT. GO.

      • Ronnie Schreiber


        I’ll have guest badges to spare for the summer NAMM show in Nashville if any of your gearhead friends or readers want to go.

        My booth will be at the end of the main aisle, right next to Ultimate Ears, the folks who make custom in-ear monitors. We both use 3D printing, though they use a cured resin printer that probably costs five figures.

      • Nick D

        If you do go and are in the mood for a reader meet and greet, let me know. I could bring my boys if the clone is there and owe you at least a cup of coffee (small size only – this isn’t Mardi Gras).

        Also, check out The Golden or Tolon the next time you’re in the Fort for a meal while you wait for Ruth’s Chris to open.

  2. Patrick Smith

    Jack, if you really want great tailoring at good prices, Hong Kong is the place. I did a number of business trips there in 208-2010. On one trip I visited a tailor shop in Kowloon recommended by a colleague. 3 suits, each with 2 pairs of pants made of a beautiful Italian wool cashmere blend, a sports jacket and slacks and 7 shirts all custom fitted for less than $3,000.00. And you don’t have to wait. I flew in on a Saturda!!y so Sunday afternoon I went to the tailors and was measured, by Tuesday they had a suit jacket and shirt ready for fitting. Thursday the whole order was ready. A couple of adjustments to the suits was necessary and the whole order was delivered to my hotel Friday.

    Remind me to tell you about the time I bought a real fake Rolex on the back streets of Kowloon. That was an adventure.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      We actually have a “bespoke tailor” in Columbus that basically serves as an intermediary between the customer and Hong Kong. The name they use is “Astor and Black”, which follows in the fine Chester Barrie and Oxxford tradition of Jewish fellows not using their real names on the door.

        • Ronnie Schreiber

          If I had $5 for every time someone suggested that I take the Harmonicaster on Shark Tank, I wouldn’t have to go on Shark Tank.

          Seriously, I find it disheartening to hear “make it in China” or “license the patent”. People seem adverse to actually starting up businesses to make stuff.

          I’m financing my startup the old fashioned way – on my plastic. For the past three years, every time I was offered a no-fee credit card, I’ve taken it, knowing that I would need the credit to buy stuff like pickups and potentiometers.

      • Ronnie Schreiber

        When I was young, my dad would get notices advertising that a “Hong Kong tailor” would be at such and such hotel, taking orders and measurements for custom tailored suites.

        I’ve done monogram embroidery for guys who have ordered ‘big & tall’ custom shirts from the Far East and some of the new shirts have literally been filthy out of the box. I’m a slob and my workshop is a mess so I’m very careful about not letting work get dirty. These shirts looked like nobody ever cleaned the working surfaces in their shop.

        Regarding Jewish tailors (the surname Schneider means tailor, btw, and in cities in eastern Europe it wasn’t unusual for there to synagogues populated by members of particular trades, hence a “Schneiders’ shul” or “Stollers’ (carpenters’) shul) ), my ex wife has worked as a professional seamstress and she once altered some suits given to a friend of ours by his wealthy father in law.. The suits had a lot of handwork, but the hand stitching was meticulous, almost as straight and regular as a machine can do. It turned out that the suit was originally tailored by the father of another friend of ours. That man survived the Holocaust because of his tailoring skills. Nazi officers would have him alter their uniforms. He got very good at measuring by eye because they wouldn’t let a Jew touch them.

    • Dr Ribs Revere

      Vietnam is an even better deal. Would have been better if I had known more about suits and selecting materials and fun options.
      I ended up w/ four suits, a tuxedo and several shirts all done within four days and several fittings, plus they shipped it all home for me. That same trip I had a bunch of shirts made at Silk City while in Shanghai, not the greatest quality but at only $10/shirt for a perfect fit I consider it a a total steal (had I been smarter I would have had 5-10 whites and blues made).

  3. Will

    Loved the dealership article. As a fellow who also sold cars during my college years, I’ve worked for excellent and shady dealers. The shadiest was the GM dealer I worked for. Was given to the son as a play thing, manager was a POS and no one ever came in.

    Best was Mazda/Kia in LA where I had the best boss I’ve ever had.

  4. arbuckle

    Honestly, is the Mazda dealer story THAT bad?

    I don’t think I’ve ever had the F&I guy (or woman) not try the old “Your new vehicle has more parts and electronics in it than three space stations and if it ever breaks out of warranty you’ll be whoring out your daughter to pay for repairs. But, if you buy the Triple Platinum Super Extended Diamond Package for only $55 more a month you’ll be protected for 8 years and 100000 miles!”

    It’s an annoying sale pitch, but nothing outright malicious.

    • jz78817

      I’ve just never understood why it works. “Hey, you know this awesome $30,000 car the salesman said was incredible and the best car ever? It’s actually a piece of junk which will bankrupt you after the warranty is over, so buy our extended one!”

      at least the last time I bought a vehicle, the F&I lady was straightforward enough to look at the numbers and say “Ok, well, you’re already right-side-up so no need to bring up gap coverage.”

      • ZG

        Yeah, that’s what bothers me about that approach. They’re undermining their own product to try to sell you a warranty.

  5. hank chinaski

    How bad are the compromises Lotus is making for the US market? I’m reminded of the rubber bumpered MGBs and 911 and malaise era’d EFI 308s. As nothing more than an armchair buyer, I’d rather see them stay track only than ruined, assuming that Lotus can work the math out.

    I’m dismayed at the degree the B&B defend CUVs in the sedan piece.

  6. Daniel J

    My Mazda experience has never been like that. After we got our new CX-5 the F&I guy tried to sell us on a 2500 dollar warranty. I got him down to about 800 on it and we purchased the warranty. He was very up front about what it did and did not cover. There were not any antics involved. We’ve already used the warranty for some minor things. It will end up paying for itself more than likely by the time we get rid of the car.

  7. Frank Galvin

    Having read Acquired Tastes by Peter Mayle a long time ago, I’m glad to see you’re doing it right. Can’t wait to see the finished product.


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