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Heap to Hero: DIY kit transforms Miata roadsters into vintage Alfa Romeos – Driving

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If you just happen to have a spare Mazda MX-5 taking up space, a company across the pond can help you turn it into a replica of the first F1 car to take the checkered flag at Silverstone.

Called the “Tipo 184,” the car – or rather, the kit to build it – offers enthusiasts a Mazda-based homage to Alfa’s famous 158 Grand Prix racer from the 1930s.

Taking your MX-5 from heap to hero will require a good bit of wrenching, but the rewards seem tremendous.

The kit consists of a bespoke chassis and hand-built body panels, plus exhaust, gear linkage, dash panel, and steering column. The starter kit doesn’t seem to include items like tires and other ancillary bits. Rather, necessities such as the too-cool retro wheels and bucket seat kit appear to be part of ‘build chapters’ that can show up at your shop via courier at regular intervals, or a timing of your own choice.

Alfa Tipo 184 Kit

Buyers will need to supply various and sundry parts from the sad-sack MX-5. Images on the site show need for the little Mazda’s front and rear suspension cradles, ECU and wiring, engine and transmission, plus the roadster’s factory gauges.

While the latter might seem like an odd requirement, anyone who’s ever tried to majorly hot rod a car using modern equipment as its base know it can be a challenge to get all the wiring from two different vehicles talking properly to each other — at least without a whole bunch of electrical infighting. A bespoke dash kit will camouflage the Mazda dials, anyway.

Total cost? Roughly $15,000 plus various taxes and fees for the starter kit, which essentially includes the chassis and body panels. Those piecemeal Build Chapters will be available early in 2021 and are to priced later. The site specifies the kit’s for the second-gen MX-5, known to Mazda nerds as the NB, a model built for seven model years and of which there were over a quarter-million produced.

A vintage Alfa racer, even a tribute to one, sure beats having a forlorn MX-5 looking at you from under a tarp.

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Britain in talks with 6 firms about building gigafactories for EV batteries

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Britain is in talks with six companies about building gigafactories to produce batteries for electric vehicles (EV), the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing people briefed on the discussions.

Car makers Ford Motor Co and Nissan Motor Co Ltd, conglomerates LG Corp and Samsung, and start-ups Britishvolt and InoBat Auto are in talks with the British government or local authorities about locations for potential factories and financial support, the report added .

 

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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EBay to sell South Korean unit for about $3.6 billion to Shinsegae, Naver

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EBay will sell its South Korean business to retailer Shinsegae Group and e-commerce firm Naver for about 4 trillion won ($3.6 billion), local newspapers reported on Wednesday.

EBay Korea is the country’s third-largest e-commerce firm with market share of about 12.8% in 2020, according to Euromonitor. It operates the platforms Gmarket, Auction and G9.

Shinsegae, Naver and eBay Korea declined to comment.

Lotte Shopping had also been in the running, the Korea Economic Daily and other newspapers said, citing unnamed investment banking sources.

South Korea represents the world’s fourth largest e-commerce market. Driven by the coronavirus pandemic, e-commerce has soared to account for 35.8% of the retail market in 2020 compared with 28.6% in 2019, according to Euromonitor data.

Shinsegae and Naver formed a retail and e-commerce partnership in March by taking stakes worth 250 billion won in each other’s affiliates.

($1 = 1,117.7000 won)

 

(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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Canada launches long-awaited auction of 5G spectrum

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Canada is set to begin a hotly anticipated auction of the mobile telecommunications bandwidth necessary for 5G rollout, one that was delayed more than a year by the pandemic.

The 3,500 MHz is a spectrum companies need to provide 5G, which requires more bandwidth to expand internet capabilities.The auction, initially scheduled for June 2020, is expected to take several weeks with Canadian government selling off 1,504 licenses in 172 service areas.

Smaller operators are going into the auction complaining that recent regulatory rulings have further tilted the scales in the favour of the country’s three biggest telecoms companies – BCE, Telus and Rogers Communications Inc – which together control around 90% of the market as a share of revenue.

Canadian mobile and internet consumers, meanwhile, have complained for years that their bills are among the world’s steepest. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has threatened to take action if the providers did not cut bills by 25%.

The last auction of the 600 MHz spectrum raised C$3.5 billion ($2.87 billion) for the government.

The companies have defended themselves, saying the prices they charge are falling.

Some 23 bidders including regional players such as Cogeco and Quebec’s Videotron are participating in the process. Shaw Communications did not apply to participate due to a $16 billion takeover bid from Rogers. Lawmakers and analysts have warned that market concentration will intensify if that acquisition proceeds.

In May, after Canada‘s telecoms regulator issued a ruling largely in favour of the big three on pricing for smaller companies’ access to broadband networks, internet service provider TekSavvy Inc withdrew from the auction, citing the decision.

Some experts say the government has been trying to level the playing field with its decision to set aside a proportion of spectrum in certain areas for smaller companies.

Gregory Taylor, a spectrum expert and associate professor at the University of Calgary, said he was pleased the government was auctioning off smaller geographic areas of coverage.

In previous auctions where the license covered whole provinces, “small providers could not participate because they could not hope to cover the range that was required in the license,” Taylor said.

Smaller geographic areas mean they have a better chance of fulfilling the requirements for the license, such as providing service to 90% of the population within five years of the issuance date.

The auction has no scheduled end date, although the federal ministry in charge of the spectrum auction has said winners would be announced within five days of bidding completion.

($1 = 1.2181 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by David Gregorio)

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