Why Steve Jobs never had a license plate on his Mercedes-Benz SL 55 AMG

Article by Christian A., on October 28, 2011

As you may know already, the creator of the iPod, iPad and the iPhone a.k.a. Steve Jobs passed away earlier this month leaving people speechless. Lots of mysteries involving Steve Job’s life remained unsolved but the one involving the lack on a number plate on his Mercedes-Benz SL 55 AMG was finally solved.

According to Jon Callas, CTO of Entrust, who in the past worked two stints at Apple in various senior security roles, there is a simple explanation for that.

Many of us believed that Steve Jobs had plenty of money to afford paying the fines, but it seems that Jobs was smarter. We already know that Jobs liked the idea of being different and discovered a legal way to keep its car without a license plate.

Apparently, according to California vehicle laws, anyone who buys a brand new car has a maximum of six months to get a number plate to the vehicle.

Nothing new until now, but Jobs made an arrangement with the leasing company to change cars during the sixth month of the lease. That’s right folks, Jobs was exchanging his car for an identical one and that means he didn’t need any license plate for Mercedes-Benz SL 55 AMG.

Exterior Design

The range-topping AMG V12 model features a multiple-disc limited-slip differential with a locking factor of 40 percent max that helps ensure optimal traction. On the other hand, the next-generation AMG Roadsters are marked by updated AMG body styling and a front end with wedge shaped AMG front aprons and chrome-bordered fog lamps. The front apron of the SL 65 AMG, meanwhile, features side air outlets for optimal flow through its auxiliary engine-oil cooler.

New SL 55 AMG and the SL 65 are also provided with several functional and aesthetic enhancements like an AMG-specific radiator grille with black louvers and chrome highlights and new tail lights with special AMG tinting, as well as an AMG sports exhaust system with two sets of chromed twin tailpipes. On the SL 65 AMG, this sports exhaust system features new V12 styling.

Likewise, the SL 55 AMG is specified with new AMG 18-inch light-alloy wheels with new multi-spoke design. Of course, the interiors of these new AMG Roadsters are further enhanced. Their interior now exudes more sportiness, more dynamism and premium quality, as evident with the addition of new carbon-fiber trim elements.

Interior Design

Drivers of the new SL 55 AMG and the SL 65 AMG roadsters are treated to AMG ergonomic sports steering wheel with specially molded rim and silver-colored aluminum AMG shift paddles. Furthermore, the instrument panels of these AMG Roadsters now feature the AMG main menu, displaying certain information like the currently engaged gear and recommended upshifts.

The panel also displays information like the engine oil temperature and the battery voltage. Also displayed is the RACETIMER, which allows drivers to record lap times, thereby recording figures like the fastest lap time, the lap length, and the average and top speeds.


SL 55 AMG and SL 65 AMG have now taken their characteristic luxurious sportiness to a new level. These two superbly capable Roadsters have been considerably upgraded technologically, equipment-wise and style-wise; consequently providing a more distinct driving feel. Handling and responsiveness for both two-seaters have been improved, thanks to upgrades for their AMG sports suspension based on second-generation Active Body Control, new AMG high-performance brakes and more direct steering. Ultra-fine detailing is also evident on the new external design and interior furnishing.

The new SL 55 AMG’s powerhouse is the improved AMG 5.5-litre supercharged V8 that now has a new, faster supercharger compressor and a larger throttle valve for improved and ideal air supply. There is also a new engine management unit of greater efficiency, which substantially increases power output to 380 kW/517hp from 368 kW/500hp and peak torque to 720 Nm from 700. These enhancements result in notable performance increases with the car now taking only 4.5 seconds to go from 0 to 100 km/h (0.2 seconds less than the preceding model). Its new electronically-limited top speed is 250 km/h.

Meanwhile, the new SL 65 AMG remains as the world’s most powerful production Roadster due to its ultra-powerful AMG 6.0-litre V12 biturbo engine which churns out 450 kW/612hp and up to 1000 Nm torque. This engine’s outstanding power is reflected in the car’s performance capabilities: it accelerates from 0-100 km/h in merely 4.2 seconds, while top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h, same as on the SL 55 AMG.

These two new AMG Roadsters both feature an enhanced AMG sports suspension based on second-generation Active Body Control. Meticulous enhancements aimed at further decreasing body movements during dynamic drives have been applied. The new models are therefore more stable, but with the same exceptional ride comfort. Agility is also increased because of the improved front-axle elastokinematics and speed-sensitive power steering featuring a more direct ratio and new valve control logic.

Enhancing the deceleration and stopping capabilities of the SL 55 AMG and the SL 65 AMG roadsters are newly developed AMG high-performance brakes that ensure optimal brake pressure application and very short stopping distances, as well as remarkable resistance to fading. Both models are provided with large composite brake discs with six-piston aluminum fixed calipers on the front axle. In particular, the new SL 65 AMG comes with ultra-high-performance composite and 30 mm larger disc brakes (all round) at the front and rear.

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