One stuffed solution

CNJ staff photo: Sharna Johnson James Laljer covered his 1974 Ford LTD with stuffed animals so his wife could find it in parking lots.

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

Everywhere he goes, people gawk and take pictures of his car. But James “Woodstock” Laljer didn’t cover his 1974 Ford LTD with stuffed animals to get attention.

He did it for his wife.

“My wife is exactly 5 feet tall,” he said, explaining she always complained she couldn’t find the car because she couldn’t see over other vehicles in crowded parking lots.

“I said, ‘I will make it so you can find our car no matter where it is in the parking lot,’” he said.

Laljer and his wife, Joanna Stephens live in Austin, Texas, and are visiting friends in Portales for the Thanksgiving holiday.
“I like a lot less attention,” Stephens said, laughing.

“It’s nothing I would have thought to do but it makes people happy.”

Parked outside a video store Friday afternoon on Prince Street, Laljer’s car was noticed by many.

Inside the store with her father, Shyann Cordova said she liked the car. “I thought that was cool,” the 10-year-old said.
“Heck, yeah (I’d like a car like that).”

Laljer said he has put eight months and a lot of industrial strength contact cement into his project car. He has no idea how many stuffed animals are riding with him and said he plans to cover the car.

He chose stuffed animals because he thought they might like to get out and see the world, he said.

A self-described joker, Laljer said he has taken the car through charity car washes before and has involved friends in sticking new critters to the car.

Laljer said the smiles the car brings are worth every bit of it.

“It’s just a lot of fun. The kids just smile and come up and have fun,” he said.