1. ITV Report

The man who lost his life's work

The 1958 Dodge Royal. Credit: ITV Border

December's flooding ruined thousands of homes and businesses across Cumbria and the south of Scotland, and for one man it also claimed his life's work.

Inside Colin Bell's garage in Kendal were three rare classic cars, which he'd spent years trying to afford, and then maintaining.

All of them were damaged by the floods - the Rolls Royce Silver Shadow and Rolls Royce Silver Cloud were both written off.

Colin's real pride and joy, the 1958 Dodge Royal, was also damaged.

He'd wanted the car since he was 14, and there are only around 20 in the country.

It's sort of fulfilled my dream to own this particular model, because we used to have a public house around the corner called the Victoria Tavern and we used to do bed and breakfast and we had an American doctor come to stay with us with a 1958 Dodge custom Royal in red and white, and he took me for a ride out in it and I was absolutely besotted.

– Colin Bell
The Rolls Royce Silver Shadow. Credit: ITV Border

Colin pleaded with the insurance company not to scrap the Dodge and spent five and a half months rescuing its flooded components.

It's been sort of rebuilt from the bottom end where the water contamination was.

The problem could arise later on when we're running the car that after six months things do start to give trouble.

The damp has travelled but it's mainly up the seating. We've had to take the seats out and thoroughly wash them in chemicals and power wash them and then they've been left to dry for at least three weeks with a heater on them and they've come up very well.

– Colin Bell

Colin says he'll miss the two Rolls Royce models, which he's worked on for 40 years, but that the worst thing about the floods was "seeing my partner's face when the water came up."

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