Alfa Romeo carries Bud to Sterling book-signing

A snowy background for the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. (Bud Wells photo)

A wonderful Monday evening in Sterling was a mid-February 2024 highlight for Jan and me.

Driving the 2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio with its familiar trefoil grille of cross and snake out front, I fairly quickly drove the 100 miles to the Christ United Methodist Church in downtown Sterling for a gathering of the Logan County Historical Society. We were accompanied by daughter Kathy Allen.

A portion of crowd at historical society gathering in Sterling. (Tim Jackson photo)

I was there to talk of my book, “2,600 Cars and a Dog Sled, Bud Wells’ 67 Years of Newspapering and Automobiles,” responding to an invitation from Don Carey, a director of the society. Very favorable reviews of my presentation appeared in the Sterling Journal-Advocate and South Platte Sentinel, written by Bill Benson, president of the historical group, .

With the drive completed in the Italian-built SUV crossover, my 2,600-car list has now grown to 2,630. The Alfa Romeo builders of the Stelvio hope to eventually challenge the superior German luxury compacts – Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes GLC; sales are far short of those, though the Alfa model did outsell the Jaguar F-Pace in 2023.

The audience at the Sterling meeting seemed receptive to my informal chat, much of which was memory of my career’s first 11 years spent at the Sterling Journal-Advocate, beginning in the fall of 1956: Late calls Friday nights from coaches, such as Dwayne Pilkington at Crook; adding obituaries, courthouse news, church page to my duties, as editor Bob Petteys realized my interests spread beyond sports; moving over to full-time news when Don Miles returned from service in 1959 to resume his sportswriting duties; and my being named editor of the J-A in 1965 by Petteys.

My drive in to Denver on a cold morning in December 1967 to visit with Bill Hornby, editor of The Post, led to my many years with both the Post and Rocky Mountain News and an assortment of odysseys, though my driving and reviewing of new cars and trucks remained the focus through most years.

The Stelvio is the Competizione all-wheel-drive trim level, with 280-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and 8-speed automatic transmission. The Alfa’s midrange performance is very much up to par after a bit of turbo lag at lower speeds. I prefer short paddleshifters which turn with the steering wheel and with the driver’s hands, but I understand reason for the lengthier paddles on the Stelvio, since they’re stationary to the steering post and are more accessible in the longer length.

A thick-based A pillar, with a large sideview mirror blocks vision at intersections and on 90-degree turns.

The interior is of noisy turn signals and almost offensive-sounding lane departure warnings.

A pricey, $6,100 optional package of leather sport seats with red stitching, vulcano gloss black body kit, active suspension, 14-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio, 21-inch aluminum wheels and red brake calipers raised sticker price to $59,870. The Stelvio is built at Cassino, Italy.