Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

Steve Jobs' Lack of License Plate Explained

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
50,321
11,668





Photo by IrishEyes/Flickr
ITWire claims to have the truth about how Steve Jobs had no license plate on his Mercedes.

This lack of license plate has drawn a lot of speculation over the years, but no clear answer had been pinned down. ITWire spoke with Jon Callas, who had worked in security roles at Apple. He explained how Jobs got away with it:
Steve (or someone close to him) spotted a loophole in the California vehicle laws. Anyone with a brand new car had a maximum of six months to affix the issued number plate to the vehicle.

So Jobs made an arrangement with the leasing company; he would always change cars during the sixth month of the lease, exchanging one silver Mercedes SL55 AMG for another identical one. At no time would he ever be in a car as old as six months; and thus there was no legal requirement to have the number plates fitted.

Article Link: Steve Jobs' Lack of License Plate Explained
 

mtbgtr

macrumors regular
Nov 12, 2009
143
122
Whats the point of doing this? To avoid paying tolls? Another quirk of another rich guy? Just because he can?
 
Comment

Durandal02

macrumors member
Apr 19, 2010
50
0
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A334 Safari/7534.48.3)

Ummm ok? And I thought he drove an Audi lol
 
Comment

justinfreid

macrumors 6502
Nov 24, 2009
491
6
NEW Jersey / USA
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A334 Safari/7534.48.3)

This doesn't ring true to me. First, neither Steve nor someone close to him was poring over the California vehicle code, but someone, maybe at the dealership, may have said, offhand, "Hey I bet you could..." Steve's feelings about authority and aesthetics probably joined and he went through with the plan. Everyone, and certainly every cop, in Cupertino knew who was driving that car.
 
Last edited:
Comment

MBP13

macrumors 6502
Mar 13, 2011
278
1
So temporary/paper license plates aren't issued in California until the real ones come in?
 
Comment

hobo.hopkins

macrumors 6502a
Jul 30, 2008
568
0
It sounds plausible. He certainly wouldn't have any trouble financially pulling that off.
 
Comment

Q Bert

macrumors regular
Mar 7, 2011
225
0
Chicago Burbs
In the 60 Minutes interview with Walter Isaacson, he has asked Steve about this and Steve replied that he doesn't want to be followed around by paparazzis thinking that a specific license plate number would be identified to him/the car. And Walter have pointed out that having no license plate would make him more noticeable thus making the car more suspicious to which Steve adamantly agreed.

He just wants to be different, I guess
 
Comment

mdwsta4

macrumors 65816
Jul 23, 2007
1,207
101
Oddly enough, I do the same thing with my cars (no license plate frames tho). I'm fortunate enough to drive company cars and usually only have them for 4-6 months. As the registration sticker that dealers put on the front windshield is good for 6 months I figured it was safe to run without plates. After 4 years of living in CA and not having plates I've only been pulled over and questioned once. My response was 'I've only had the car for 3 months'. The cop's response 'okay'.

Having not grown up in CA, I found the fact that new cars don't have temp plates/tags extremely strange, but it is what it is.
 
Comment

iindigo

macrumors 6502a
Jul 22, 2002
772
42
San Francisco, CA
What is the point of not having a license plate?

As others noted, he didn't want to be tracked, but I also suspect that it had to do with aesthetics. License plates are really quite hideous compeared to the cars they're affixed to, and not all that different from say an Intel Inside sticker on a laptop. In his mind, it was ugly and unnecessary.
 
Comment

t^3

macrumors regular
Oct 17, 2001
179
0
I might have found the applicable section at the bottom of this page:
http://dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d03/vc4456.htm

Excerpt:
(c) A vehicle displaying a copy of the report of sale may be operated without license plates or registration card until either of the following, whichever occurs first:

(1) The license plates and registration card are received by the purchaser.

(2) A six-month period, commencing with the date of sale of the vehicle, has expired.
 
Comment

electrovir

macrumors newbie
Jul 13, 2011
25
0
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Mobile/8C148)

I had wondered about this...
If that's the case, lol that's awesome.
 
Comment

FrankieTDouglas

macrumors 68000
Mar 10, 2005
1,532
2,644
As others noted, he didn't want to be tracked, but I also suspect that it had to do with aesthetics. License plates are really quite hideous compeared to the cars they're affixed to, and not all that different from say an Intel Inside sticker on a laptop. In his mind, it was ugly and unnecessary.

Except the car is designed to contain the plate, so the absence of it creates an odd void in that indentation.
 
Comment

mrsir2009

macrumors 604
Sep 17, 2009
7,505
156
Melbourne, Australia
As others noted, he didn't want to be tracked, but I also suspect that it had to do with aesthetics. License plates are really quite hideous compeared to the cars they're affixed to, and not all that different from say an Intel Inside sticker on a laptop. In his mind, it was ugly and unnecessary.

He left the frame on though, which is pretty unsightly itself ;)
 
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.