Within a few hours after posting a photo of Steve Jobs' Mercedes spotted outside the Yerba Buena Center, (above) the location of Apple's 'Let's Rock' event on Tuesday, comments and controversy began to emerge along with a flood of email inquiries.
The controversy and questions surrounded the supposed UPC barcode pictured on Jobs' Mercedes SL55 AMG in lieu of of an official California license plate. We discovered wild rumors have dated back several years spawning constant speculation over Jobs' barcode license plate. The most absurd rumor alleges that Jobs paid California DMV a lot of money for a special exemption that allows him to have a UPC barcode instead of a real license plate. A lame idea invented by the village idiot.
Another popular wedge of white trash folklore asserts that Steve Jobs uses a bar code instead of a license plate to expedite the billing of his numerous parking tickets. This also turned out to be false. Our own hack investigation into this looming Jobsian mystery has revealed a few facts that force the rumors into a long dirt nap. Short of a direct quote from Steve Jobs himself, here's exactly what we've uncovered.
The supposed Steve Jobs barcode in place of a license plate is actually the vehicles VIN number placed on the car by the manufacturer (above). When we randomly removed the license plate from a parked Mercedes E320 Wagon, a similar VIN sticker was found underneath (left). It appears that Steve Jobs may be choosing to not display his license plate for reasons unknown, not because he's exempt. California Highway Patrol confirmed by phone that no exemptions for omitting a license plate are given to anyone under California law.
The fine for violating CA Vehicle Code 5200 for lacking the proper license plates can run in the range of $250. The code clearly states; (a) When two license plates are issued by the department for use upon a vehicle, they shall be attached to the vehicle for which they were issued, one in the front and the other in the rear. Section (b) states that if only one plate is issued it should be attached to the rear of the vehicle. Not the case for Jobs.
Another geeky piece to this strange puzzle comes by way of the film "Back To The Future" that featured a bar code license plate on the famed DeLorean time machine. "Barcode license plates were in use by 2015 as a means of identifying cars. It is assumed that they could reveal much more information once scanned than a standard license plate". According to Futurepedia, a Back to the Future Wiki. Could this be the source of the rumored barcode license plate that was eventually attached to Apple's CEO?
It's become painfully obvious that anyone can drive like Steve Jobs if they have an open checkbook, ready and willing to pay the fines to the California courts. I suggest continuing to obey the law if you can't afford to fight it. If you have any unique license plate info about El Jobso that we have not posted, chime in with your comments and let the speculation continue. Consider this mystery solved... for the moment.
Jobs allegedly Handicap parking at One Infinite Loop [photo by Rana Sobhany]