I hope I am not beating this to death but here is a little more history on Sterling. Sterling was never associated with Ford in any way.
In 1998 Ford decided to get out of the heavy truck business and offered up for sale their entire L series truck product line including the copy rights for all parts and the assembly line that was, at the time, located in Louisville, Ky. Freightliner (Mercedes Trucks, North America) moved the assembly line to Canada and began to build the trucks under the Sterling badge and marketed them through their own dealer network. This is why the early Sterling trucks looked so much like a Ford even though they were in no way a part of Ford.
Neat little piece of history.