Long time no post.
Here's a roundup for readers keen for an update (I assume none):
I think the Volvo needs a clutch and either the release bearing has gone (rattly) or the gearbox input shaft has bent. I'm really hoping the former, not the latter.
It failed the MOT on a torn steering rack gaiter so got that fixed to get it through the MOT but they also gave me a minor for leaking front shock absorbers. I'm guessing a combination of London and southern Italian roads were too much for them. I've just ordered Bilstein B6 front shock absorbers to replace the Koni adjustables, they're not adjustable but I have it on good authority that they're very very good.
I'm trying out the new Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5 tyres on it, upgrading from the Asymmetric 3, so far they seem very good, better ride and grip. TyreReviews rated the new 5 much better than the old, but also best in class beating the PS4 so I'm happy they live up to the expectation so far.
I tried to get the MX5 engine swap finished in time for a trackday in Wales at the end of July, it was a big rush of working all day on a couple of weekends and some late nights. I managed to get everything ready to turn it over literally on the morning of driving to Wales but it wouldn't run for longer than a few seconds. I didn't have any time left as I was actually going on a family holiday to Wales (I'd combined the two trips), so had to leave it behind and I haven't touched it since due to too many other things on but I've got an evening at Donny booked on Sept 2nd so that's a new deadline. I think the issue is the map that is on the ECU at the moment is for much more advanced timing than this engine is set to (involving re-drilled cam gears) so I need to load a base map on and it should run. Then got a few tidy up jobs to do and it should be good to go.
Also managed to agree a swap of my Compomotive TH Mono wheels from the MX5 for a set of lightweight 2pc Racing Beat 15x7 wheels. I think I'll get those rebuilt into some fancy pants wideboys with a lot of dish as a second set of wheels, I've got the ATS DTC to go on before the trackday.