I faintly recall the Latin phrase "per aspera ad astra" from reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" back in early high school. I really liked the concept of "through the mud to the stars" or "through hardships to the stars". I hadn't thought about it much in automotive terms. It turns out I needn't have bothered. My recent automotive adventures bear a stronger resemblance to the Top Gear mantra - "ambitious but rubbish". Here's the story of how things recently took a turn for the worst.