Indeed, when you work with lethal amounts of power or at least power that could cause lethal collateral damage (ie. blow up my car) even I tend to do my checks and balances before I flip the switch. To clarify however, I'm well versed in electrical theory so I don't consider this to be "out of my league". I'm just not in any current risk situation since we're talking about a concept rather than me actually building the thing so I'm being careless is all. In retrospect, as for the reason for starting this thread, I could have answered my own question had I put sufficient thought into it. It's not that enigmatic and the data is all available. The real benefit of this discussion is the stuff I had no intention of talking about... subtle nuances like switching noise and filtering techniques; Pieces of wisdom from others more experienced than myself but stuff that I'm perfectly capable of grasping.
Back to the circuit, I realize after looking at it again that it doesn't do what I really wanted it to do. I want to bring the power factor to 0 degrees if possible but I also want to buffer the PWM. Maybe the latter isn't necessary because the armature coils can take it but it might reduce vibration in the motor to smooth it out... just thinking aloud here.
And what was wrong with the driver pullup? I'm probably just not seeing something obvious. Did I invert the PWM or something?