Among the many myths surrounding the notoriously private life of Steve Jobs was his disdain for license plates. Jobs reportedly drove a Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG without ever affixing a plate, leading many to speculate that Apple's powerful CEO had cut some back room deal with California's DMV, or that he had some high-tech bar code plate on his car, or that he just didn't mind paying whatever citations he received for his different thinking.
Now we have a report that claims to settle the issue once and for all, and explain how you too can drive plate-less in California if you're so inclined.
ITWire is reporting that a former Apple security employee has explained away the mystery by pointing to something of a loophole in California law, one that he says Jobs took advantage of to legally drive without a plate. The New York Times has identified the statute as California Vehicle Code No. 4456, which says that a new vehicle can be driven for up to six months without license plates. (Although the newspaper goes on to explain that the law is changing to shorten that period to three months in July 2012.)
So Jobs' grand act of defiance was made possible by simply leasing a new car every six months.
But before we close the books on the license plate issue, we'd like to perhaps see some more evidence. If Jobs indeed acquired a new car every six months, we'd have to assume that sometime in 2009 he started driving something other than an SL55 AMG. It went out of production in 2008, and was replaced by the 2009 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG. Yet we've seen photos of what is said to be Jobs' 2007 SL55, reportedly with over 21,000 miles on the odo in summer 2010.
Perhaps this is just another case of Steve's "reality distortion field," persisting even after his death.