Steve Jobs was never one for ostentation displays of wealth. He lived in a modest house in a residential neighbourhood of Palo Alto, had an open driveway and kids from neighbouring houses came up trick-or-treating to his house every Halloween. He was a normal guy—a normal guy who changed the world with his genius, but a normal guy nevertheless.
Well, except for his car.
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Jobs was infamous for his penchant for parking in the handicapped slot in the parking lot and for driving a silver Mercedes SL55 AMG with a blank license plate. How did he do it? Did he just pay the fine every time he was caught? Was he granted a special leave by the California government to indulge himself? Surely, surely, he didn’t change cars every few months just to go without a license plate, right?
Yeah, that’s exactly what he did, according to this story by ITWire, which spoke to a former senior security official at Apple, Jon Callas, about Jobs’ numberless numberplate:
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.
All that for a license plate! How about that, huh?
As to why he went to all this effort in the first place, Walter Isaacson noted in his biography of the Apple co-founder that Jobs may have wanted a numberless license plate to prevent himself from being tracked—but when asked in interviews after the book launched, the author has not clarified this statement.
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