Michael,

In the late 70s a "teacher" at the traveling Nikon School said wide angles don't have distortion but exaggerated perspective. He followed with a sensible proof using the ratio of distance to foreground objects and distance to background objects. Whether or not this was provided to explain away true distortion in WA Nikkors versus WAs by Leitz I don't know but 1) It made perfect sense, and 2) I've never had much problem with "distortion" if I framed the image correctly. Usually, I was after the FG/BG thing so I coaxed it as much as I could. And, with the Nikkor Retros I could actually afford the 28s, 24s and 20s that let me get the images I was after. If Leitz was the only source of wide angles I doubt I would have ever picked up a camera. I have no doubt the geometries and optics can affect things here but must also think at least some of the spiel behind $3k 35s is to explain away Leica's antiquated production workflow.