Sterling Bullet Debuts at NTEA Show
By: Mike LevinePosted: 03-06-07 16:30 ET
© 2007 PickupTruck.com

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While much of the automotive press corps are on a European junket attending the 2007 Geneva Auto Show, right here in the good ole U.S. of A. there’s new truck news at the National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA) Work Truck Show in Indianapolis.

Sterling Truck Corporation has unveiled the Bullet - a class 4/5 medium duty chassis cab based off the 2008 Dodge Ram 4500/5500 platform. The Ram 4500/5500 debuted last month at the 2007 Chicago Auto Show. The Bullet broadens Sterling’s range of class 3 to 8 work trucks by adding the convenient form factor of a heavy duty pickup to the line.

Sterling may be an unfamiliar name to some but it has a strong family tree. Originally founded as the Sternberg Motor Truck Company in the early 1900s, in 1916 its name was changed to Sterling. After producing trucks for the military during World War II, Sterling sales stumbled after the war and it was acquired by White Motor Company. White used the Sterling name until 1955, when it was retired. The Sterling brand was resurrected in 1998 as a subsidiary of semi and bus manufacturer Freightliner. Today, Freightliner and Sterling are owned by DaimlerChrysler, parent company to Chrysler, the maker of the Dodge Ram.

While it wears the silhouette of the immediately recognizable Ram, the Bullet is separated from its close cousin by more than a spiffy chrome grille.

"The Bullet is a Sterling truck from the beginning of the building process. While it does share the same platform as the Ram 4500/5500 and is built in the same plant, the Bullet’s options and configurations are unique. Plus, the Bullet can only be purchased from a Sterling [Light Commercial Vehicle] dealership, and it has a unique VIN identifier registered to Sterling," says Sterling Spokesperson Susan Gallik.

One particularly functional feature that's exclusive to the Bullet is its standard power take-off (PTO) package. PTO enables the Bullet’s 6.7-liter Cummins turbo diesel engine to connect to and power auxiliary equipment at a worksite, like a generator, pump, or jackhammer.

No difference in powertrain choices though. The Bullet's Cummins is identical to the Ram's CTD, developing a muscular 305 horsepower and 610 lb-feet of torque. It can be mated to a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox.

Like any chassis body, the Bullet is ready to be upfitted for urban and rural utility applications. It offers a flat-faced frame with conventional 34-inch rail spacing. Buyers can easily attach a stake bed, cargo box, dumper, or wrecker on the rear behind their choice of regular two-door or four-door quad cabs.

Its claimed capabilities are impressive. Trailering-wise the Bullet can haul loads up to a studly gross combined weight rating limit of 26,000 pounds. The front axle is rated at 7,500 pounds and the rear can manage up to 13,500 pounds. Sterling helps get things started with axle ratios that start tall and keep getting taller, from 4.10 to 4.88.

Other options include cruise control, fog lights, power windows and locks, and power trailer tow mirrors. A premium interior package is available, and features options such as a navigation radio with available GPS, a cloth six-way power seat, and an Infinity MP3/CD player.

Sterling is promoting the advantages of its dealer network as another reason to buy-te the Bullet (really sorry, couldn’t help myself). Longer service hours and well trained techs are ready to help get serviced rigs back on the road faster, a big benefit when you make your living off your work truck.

The Sterling Bullet goes on sale at select Sterling LCV sales centers this fall.

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