Just how long has the Land Rover Owners Club of South Africa been around?
Fifty five years is a long time for anything to be around, never mind a group of enthusiasts for a single brand. The LROCSA is Southern Africa’s oldest 4x4 club, and it also has the honour of being one of the oldest Land Rover clubs in the world. Attie Smit explains that in 1960, when the club was officially formed, the process of becoming an officially recognised club involved submitting registration documents to Land Rover’s head office in Solihull. However, he admits that there is contention about the Scottish LROC being older. Back then the Rover Company Ltd started the official Land Rover Owners Club in the UK after seeing the large number of proud Land Rover owners in the country. It took this so seriously that the club was even assigned a full-time representative from the manufacturer. It also meant that foreign clubs could register with the factory and automatically gain affiliation with the official and original Land Rover Owners Club. In the 50s, the Scottish members of the original LROC sought independence, and their wish was eventually granted in 1958. A Scottish Sector was formed, and given official recognition. High-ranking members of the parent club attended Scottish Sector annual general meetings and events, and the sale of official Land Rover paraphernalia. However, the inexorable march of time saw Rover taking things into its own hands. In 1966 the British brand hosted a meeting with all areas in which LROC UK had members. This resulted in the formation of the Rover Owners Association, of which the separate areas of the LROC would become affiliated clubs. Scottish members unsuccessfully voted against this change, and in the following year registered with the Royal Automobile Club to be a separate entity – the Scottish Land Rover Owners Club. On that technicality, then, the South African club could be the oldest. It has been around in its current form since 1960, while the Scots – despite being an official offshoot since 1958 – only registered as an independent club much later.