Interesting article! I have a question that's unrelated to the article (but related to the car). I know the story behind the Vermont license plates (which was very instructive.) But I'm curious why you're still using them. Wasn't the point of using the "Vermont loophole" to eventually get a title from your home state?
No. I had the title from the car's previous owner. The reason for using "the Vermont loophole" was that the windshield was cracked and no replacements were available, making the car un-inspectable in Massachusetts. At long last, I have sourced a new windshield. I hope to put it in over the winter. When it's done, I'll transfer the registration to Massachusetts.
First, like most Lotus road cars of that era, most of the alignment is not adjustable. Chapman didn't trust his customers not to mess it up.
"the rear control arms are light little wispy things, reminiscent of hollow bones in birds’ wings"
BS. In the direction that they are designed to take load, they are more than adequate. I had the stock rear lower control arms on my Special with wide (205s, really wide for a Europa), modern (at the time, which was the 90s) sticky tires. The original rear control arms held up fine (as did the "weak" u-joints (the upper link in the rear suspension on a Europa).
However, those control arms don't hold up well when loaded on other directions, like from the side. From the photos, it looks like someone jacked up the car under a control arm, which is not advised.
"The rear toe is adjustable via a Byzantine arrangement involving spacers (washers, really) on the bolt connecting the rear trailing arm and the subframe."
Byzantine? There is a bolt that goes straight through a rubber bushing, a shim pack (to set the toe, if you used washers, I hope at least that they were the correct thickness), the end of the trailing arm, and finally a washer and nut.