What in particular worked for you? As above haven't seen manual gearbox oil of that colour. The swarf does sound a bit worrying but if you have had no real issues fingers crossed that it is ok.
The penetrating oil and shock method of getting the bolts out worked, thank goodnss.
Ned says in this thread that the corect oil for the 'box with Q2 is sometimes red:
http://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/alfa-...n-147-gta.html (ATF Fluid Leak On 147 GTA)
The prev owner always had it serviced by Peak Alfa, and just prior to him getting it the Q2 was fitted by Alfatechnico, so hopefully neither of them effed the gearbox oil up. However it was difficult selecting reverse when I got it, and it made a 'crrk!' noise if you accelerated from rest (which I suspect was caused by the missing 'snap' ring between the n/s/f cv joint and the driveshaft).
Main reason why I started my epic suspension rebuild saga was a mixture of the weird noise, the reverse difficulty, knocking from the n/s/f suspension, low ride height at the front, and a rather nasty occasion where it did an uncontrollable dive for the side of the road half way round a roundabout (probably that cv joint again), so I only drove it four times before it came off the road, but I didn't notice any gear change issues during that short time.
I was expecting to have to spend a fair bit on it (I got my 'dream machine' for a bargain price, and I'd probably make most of my money back if I broke it for spares) but it is going to be a pain if I do have to replace the box; I'd probably stick a 2.5 box and driveshafts in (with the Q2) if it came to that, but for the moment I'll just replace the clutch and gearshift bushes, refill with oil, hope for the best, and book it into Autolusso for a health check when I've got it all back together.