I think you have a point, but you’re way over-stating your case. Litespeeds were good bikes, but there was always more love for Merlin, at least over here.
Where Litespeed gained over Merlin was in the business skills of the Lynskeys, especially in building up the dominant position in the US market for building ti frames for other brands. But business skills is one thing, soul is another, and I don’t think Litespeed ever created a persona for their bikes. They were just the Trek of the ti sector.
I notice you said “Close up picture of a Lynskey weld for all those who have never seen the sheer quality!” and then showed a very ordinary ti weld. Ti welding is nothing special, the nice fine bead is just a function of the standard welding techniques. There are many thousands of welds like that in every airliner, and you’d better hope they’re all of a similar quality to that, otherwise you’ll need your parachute. Also by calling it a Lynskey weld, you imply that David Lynskey made that weld. David Lynskey was just the boss, he no more made that weld than Enzo Ferrari dressed in overalls or got oil on his hands.
I was interested to see this 1997 Obed, a good example with correct decals, just made £430 on eBay the other day.
That’s a decent price, but less than a Kona Hei Hei would make and not much more than a Marin ti made a few days earlier. I think this may illustrate your point that Litespeeds are under-rated. But on the other hand, was Litespeed’s reputation for durability and build quality as high as Ti Sports, even before David Lynskey left? I don’t think so, not on what I read. Do people like the shape or geometry of a Litespeed any better than a Kona? No, advantage Kona on that one. So maybe the market has it about right. Good bikes, but nothing to stir the emotions.