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The stories about the complete lack of a number plate on Steve Job's car are many and varied.  But we can finally reveal the truth.

iTWire had the good fortune this morning to spend an hour with Jon Callas, CTO of Entrust, who in the past worked two stints at Apple in various senior security roles.

Amongst other tales around his time at Apple, we couldn't resist asking if Callas knew anything about the number plate saga.  Of course he did - and here it is.

It turns out that Steve quite liked the idea of being different (recall the "think different" slogan so regularly used by Apple) and discovered a perfectly legal way to permanently drive without a number plate. 

Some outlets have suggested that he doesn't care and will happily pay a fine if ever confronted by police; others, quoting Steve Wozniak, suggest that he had some kind of permit to do so.

Neither is true.  In fact the truth is far simpler.

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.

 

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David Heath

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David Heath has over 25 years experience in the IT industry, specializing particularly in customer support, security and computer networking. Heath has worked previously as head of IT for The Television Shopping Network, as the network and desktop manager for Armstrong Jones (a major funds management organization) and has consulted into various Australian federal government agencies (including the Department of Immigration and the Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence). He has also served on various state, national and international committees for Novell Users International; he was also the organising chairman for the 1994 Novell Users' Conference in Brisbane. Heath is currently employed as an Instructional Designer, building technical training courses for industrial process control systems.

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