Mustang Sally and her owner John Ludlow will be seen driving throughout the Comox Valley this Christmas season (and beyond). Photo by Erin Haluschak

Mustang Sally and her owner John Ludlow will be seen driving throughout the Comox Valley this Christmas season (and beyond). Photo by Erin Haluschak

Mustang Sally spreading joy, one car ride at a time in the Comox Valley

Valley resident’s 1966 Ford Mustang truly a sight to see

John Ludlow took a leap of faith last year, and not only has it paid off, but he’s spreading joy wherever he goes throughout the Comox Valley.

Ludlow moved to the Valley from Winnipeg last summer, and he brought with him only a few possessions – one of which was his beloved 1966 yellow Ford Mustang convertible.

The car is catching the eyes of residents for a few reasons. In addition to its pristine condition, Ludlow has topped it with a bright yellow kayak filled with Mustang Sally – a smiling homemade figure resting atop the kayak.

The Mustang can be seen around the Valley, now decorated for Christmas, even decked out with lights for the holiday season. Ludlow said the car is turning heads, for good reason.

“I drove downtown Courtenay a few weeks ago. I literally had people dancing on Fifth Street. People stop – it’s wonderful. I rarely drive it now without the kayak … it’s part of me.”

The idea to spread joy with his car came about this summer. Ludlow found himself homeless, so he took his tent trailer and camped at Kin Beach Provincial Park for about three weeks until he found a permanent home. During that time, he wanted to make the best of his situation and attempted to beautify his campsite with flowers.

“I went (to a grocery store) and bought a hanging basket of flowers. I thought ‘how am I going to get it back to the campground without it tipping over and spilling earth all over the carpet?’ “

With his convertible top down, Ludlow decided to make the most of the space. Using two holes in the window frame, he hung the basket and drove back to the beach “with the flowers swinging like a pendulum the whole way home.”

“People were going ‘great flowers!’ ‘I love that air freshener!’ They loved it (and) they never made it to my picnic table – they stayed in my car. I decided everywhere I go in this town I will have those hanging baskets in the car with the top down, so if I go to downtown Courtenay, Cumberland, Comox, anybody can take those flowers if they really wanted them.”

He created signs for his vehicle which read: ‘if you choose – not steal – to take these flowers, you need more joy, please pay it forward. If you wish to meet more like-minded people like myself, please join my Facebook page – Comox Valley Social Experiment.’

The page has more than 250 members and Ludlow noted it is used to spread love, kindness, connection and ‘paying it forward’ throughout the Valley.

As for the flowers, one person did end up eventually taking them.

“I was coming out (of a store) and there were about 10 people around the car and were chatting and I told them what it was all about. One person said, ‘Well, I need more joy,’ and he took the flowers and I said that’s great. I posted it on my Facebook page and I went .. and got more flowers.”

As for the kayak that is now a fixture atop of the car, Ludlow explained he always wanted a kayak and found one at the Habitat ReStore. Initially, he thought to place an oversized stuffed bear inside, but couldn’t find one in the Valley. As a soapstone carver, he got creative and made his own sculpture – Mustang Sally.

During the holiday season, Sally has transformed into Mustang Santa, dressed in a white beard, Santa costume and hat. In truly Canadian fashion and as an homage to his hometown Winnipeg Jets, she carries hockey sticks in both of her ‘hands’ and is flanked by reindeer. Of course, at the front of the kayak is Rudolph, whose red nose flashes brightly. A Bluetooth stereo blasts Christmas music as Ludlow drives through the Valley.

Not only has his car caught the attention of people around the Valley, but also that of The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich. It is set to be in their showcase at the museum next year – yellow kayak and all.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A second-floor balcony continues to smoulder after a fire extinguisher was used to get a small balcony fire under control at the Washington Inn Apartments. Brian Hayward, who lives on the third floor, was alerted to the fire by the smell of smoke wafting into his apartment. Photo by Brian Hayward.
Courtenay firefighters respond to balcony fire at Washington Inn Apartments

Firefighters were called out to the Washington Inn Apartments Sunday, April 17,… Continue reading

RCMP forensics investigators scour the site north of Highland School in Comox, where multiple people were stabbed during a party Saturday night, April 16. Photo by Terry Farrell
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Comox bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault near Highland Secondary

Cumberland is surrounded by trees — and logging. Its council is supporting a call to stop old-growth logging in vulnerable areas of the province such as Fairy Creek. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cumberland backs request to save B.C.’s old-growth forests

The Comox Youth Climate Council is asking local governments to take stand

Danita Bilozaze and her daughter Dani in Comox. Photo by Karen McKinnon
Valley woman makes historic name change for truth and reconciliation

First in Canada to be issued new passport under the TRC Calls to Action

For Leela Harrop, the recent death of her brother Raju Tiwari pushed her to sign up for the vaccine. Photo supplied
Comox woman on fence books vaccine due to brother’s death

Leela Harrop says she did have issues with signing up online this past week

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

Pat Kauwell, a semi-retired construction manager, lives in his fifth-wheel trailer on Maxey Road because that’s what he can afford on his pension, but a Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw prohibits using RVs as permanent dwellings, leaving Kauwell and others like him with few affordable housing options. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Rules against RV living hard on Island residents caught in housing crunch

Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw forcing pensioner to move RV he calls home off private farm land

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Most Read