A quick update - Azure Dynamics was kind enough to point out some errors in my procedures, and I updated the controller with the parameters they gave me. And it's a car! Reasonably snappy acceleration and the "grinding / whining" is much lower (it sounds like a Jetson car now :-). I took my wife for a ride around the block. Well, 75% of the way around the block. I took a bump too fast and the controller turned itself off and would not turn on until things cooled down. I'll debug that tomorrow (and will adjust the ride height too).
Here's the very diplomatic message pointing out that I'm an idiot. Did I mention how fantastic Azure tech support has been?