Sterling Trucks – The Complete Sterling Truck Story

Sterling Truck - used semi truck for sale

Sterling Truck

2000 Sterling L7500 Crane Truck, 3126 CAT Engine


History of Sterling Trucks

William Sternberg began the original Sterling Trucks Company in the beginning of the 1900s under his own name. The Sterling name came in 1916 due to the fact that Sternberg was German, and during this timeframe many people didn’t like the Germans due to World War I, so he didn’t want the company to have a German name.

Sterling Trucks Through The Years

Since its start, the Sterling line of trucks has undergone many changes, as well as a temporary shutdown, as well as changing owners several times.

Early Sterling Trucks

The Sterling Trucks company made both medium and heavy duty trucks . It also produced vehicles during World War II. They continued on in the business until the 1950s, when White Trucks bought them out in1951 and called the new merger Sterling White.

Later, White Trucks retired the Sterling brand of trucks and the name went dead for a while. At that time, the Sterling Trucks brand had made more than 12,000 trucks.

Sterling Trucks Reborn

Nearly 50 year later, the Sterling Truck brand was revived in 1997 when Daimler- Benz bought the Ford Heavy Duty Truck Division. In 1997, after Daimler-Benz purchased the assets of Ford Motor Company’s Heavy Truck Division, the Sterling brand name was resurrected and re-launched the following year.

The new version of Sterling Trucks made heavy vocational duty trucks as a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America and was then manufactured in Portland, Oregon. The trucks were made for a multitude of applications;, trucks for sanitation, dump trucks, and school bus chassis. The trucks were made in Canada, however, and were then sold in several places, including the U.S., Mexico, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

During this timeframe in the Sterling Trucks history, it was doing well and making about 15 percent of the trucks being produced for the Daimler company. Sadly, by 2008, Daimler decided they were disappointed with production of Sterling trucks, as it had slowed down considerably.

Therefore they closed it down that year, costing about 3,500 people their jobs. Daimler said they did it in order to merge their truck making operations in North America with two other brands: Freightliner and Western Star. The final plant in Portland, Oregon closed down in June 2010.

Types of Trucks Sterling has Made Over the Years

Sterling Trucks has made several types of trucks and other vehicles over the years. Besides trucks, they made class 8 tractors. Their trucks were a series of both medium and heavy duty cab and chassis with the truck bodies produced by a different company. Sterling Trucks were sold for use in fields like construction, snow removal, and trash removal.

In its second rendition of its existence, Sterling Trucks made light and medium cab and chassis trucks that were actually made by Mitsubishi Fuso and Dodge, but were named the Sterling 360 models and the Sterling Bullet models. These trucks were a lighter weight, so they could be used in lighter duty applications.

The Sterling 360 truck was, for instance, a medium duty cabover, and it was sold in Canada, the U.S., and overseas in Europe, New Zeland, Asia and Australia.

The Sterling Bullet truck was a cab and chassis style of truck and was similar to the Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500.

The Set Backj axle A Line truck line was a Sterling Truck. It was considered to be a long haul truck and could be ordered with a sleeper for long haul application.

The Set Back axle L Line of Sterling trucks was considered to be their “work horse,” it could be ordered with a heavy or double frame and and off road suspension for heavy duty applications.

The Set-Forward axle L Line truck competes with the owner operator trucks. It has a longer wheelbase for more efficient distribution of weight and more under . It also had a lighter and more flexible hood that was aerodynamically shaped to give truckers more visibility.

The Acterra was a Class 5-7 truck with a great many straight truck applications, flatbed, box truck, crane truck. This was a very popular midrange truck.

All in all, Sterling Trucks has undergone many changes in both names and products, but some of its vehicles are still on the road and working hard in many different industries and locations.

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