Why Steve Jobs’ Mercedes Never Had a License Plate


Jobs would regularly park his Mercedes in a handicap spot on Apple's campus
Jobs would regularly park his Mercedes in a handicap spot on Apple's campus

Besides his signature black turtleneck, New Balance sneakers, and blue jeans, Steve Jobs was known for his silver Mercedes SL55 AMG. What was perhaps most interesting about Jobs’ ride was the fact that it never had a license plate.

Jobs’ Mercedes was photographed many times over the last several years, but the car was always plate-free. How did he do it? Did he pay the fine every time he was confronted by the police? Did he obtain a special permit? Did he just get lucky?

The answer is actually very simple.

ITWire explains (via The Loop):

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.

One might also assume that the leasing company was happy – they had an endless supply of luxury cars to on-sell with the previous driver being none-other that Steve Jobs.

That would be a win-win-win situation for Steve, the leasing company and for the subsequent buyer.



Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.