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The Southern Land Rover Society or Solaros as it is commonly called has its roots back in the 1970's when one of its founders was the regional coordinator for the old Land Rover Owners Association. The LROA was an early attempt to have a national Land Rover club. It was based in Southern California and published a newsletter called The Aluminum Workhorse. The regional coordinators were points of contact for other Land Rover owners within their geographic area to arrange meetings and share information about the vehicles - especially during the time when British Leyland had abandoned the US market and before most of the current aftermarket suppliers had emerged. They also provided articles to the Aluminum Workhorse and news about local events that would be of interest to the membership. The LROA faded from the scene in the late 1980's but it started the seed idea of forming a locally based Land Rover club in the minds of a few Series truck owners in the Atlanta, Georgia area. Land Rover owners in Atlanta continued to keep in touch with each other at the annual British Motorcar Day held each spring and "Camp Rover" continued to grow each year at this event.


With the re-entry of the Land Rover brand to the USA in 1987 and especially with the introduction of the Defender 90 and Discovery models in 1994 interest in the marque started building. Once again Land Rover owners started looking for other owners to get together with for trail rides and support in their efforts to modify their trucks for better off-road performance. Interest in the old Series trucks started picking up too and soon a group of enthusiasts were getting together for informal meetings.

In September, 1994 David Porter, Byron Knight, Bryan Jenkins, Shawn Rao and Trevor Bryson organized the first Southern Appalachian Expedition and invited all of the Land Rover owners they could get in touch with to meet at the Porter's property just outside of Dawsonville for a trail ride over Rich Mountain near Ellijay. A rainy day and slick Georgia red clay made for a memorable first official outing as a dozen Land Rovers ranging from old Series IIA's to new Discoverys crawled over the North Georgia Mountains. At an end of the day dinner at the famous Dawsonville Pool Hall the subject of forming a new Land Rover club was broached and we agreed to get together and invite all Land Rover enthusiasts to attend. After a few months of meetings it was decided to formally start up a club - and one of the first orders of business was to decide on a name. This led to a lively discussion and the name Solaros was decided on as an abbreviation for the Southern Land Rover Society (plus Steve Mcqueen's production company was Solar Productions and we all know that Steve was the epitome of cool).

Jack Walter sketched up the official club emblem from a design he had originally started when he was the LROA Regional Coordinator in the 1970's and Philip Rau put the finishing touches on the design. The lettering on the club emblem is the same typeface used on the old "Ace" editions of the famous Tarzan books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Dues were collected and a newsletter started. The original name for the newsletter was almost "Crumpled Aluminum" but a more conservative title of "The Greenlaner" was chosen. Monthly meetings and trail rides were started and although many of the roads we used to drive then are now closed we have fond memories of the Pig Trail, Andersen Creek, and Rich Mountain.

The club adopted the principles of Tread Lightly from the beginning and has organized or participated in many trail workdays picking up trash and doing trail maintenance. They continue this tradition by providing support to the Southern Four Wheel Drive Association both financially and by participating in the SFWDA workdays at the Tellico and Beasley Knob ORV areas. We also support the Blue Ribbon Coalition.

The club was founded with the principle that our Land Rovers should be used to go for a nice ride in the woods. These can range from mild trips down well-graded US Forest Service roads to the extreme trails at the Tellico ORV area. The experienced club members can always be counted on to help those that are new to the sport learn the capabilities of their Land Rovers and the techniques required to exploit those safely. Any Land Rover enthusiast in the North Georgia area is encouraged to come to one of the monthly meetings which is always held on the third Wednesday.

The club has an annual spring gathering at the Tellico ORV area in North Carolina and continues to have a strong showing at the annual British Motorcar Day in mid-May. Each year over twenty Solaros members can be counted on to attend club events in neighboring states such as ROAV's Mid-Atlantic Rally or the Old North State's Uhwarrie Safari. The club holds several "shop days" during the year and club members are always willing to help one another with projects ranging from simple maintenance to complete frame swaps and even an old fashioned "barn raising". The amount of knowledge and skills covered by the wide experiences of the club members helps others avoid some of the pitfalls of Land Rover ownership and can enhance the enjoyment of owning these very special vehicles. Great friendships are made in the club and new members are welcomed to join us and have some fun.

Club members have participated in two expeditions to Belize to help Rivers of the World member Ben Mathes set up a clinic in the northern part of that country. One of the club members made it to the final eight selections in the 1995 Camel Trophy trials and would have probably made the US team if a torn shoulder muscle during training hadn't forced him to retire from the competition at the last minute.

The annual Southern Appalachian Expedition is still held each fall and 2007 was a return to the simple roots of the event. The fourteenth annual SAE was once again be held on the Porter's property just east of Dawsonville, Georgia on November 2-4. This is a family friendly campout type event with guided trail rides in the mountains above Amicalola Falls. There was be an auction of items donated by a variety of vendors and the Hennessy Land Rover Centers and all proceeds will be donated to charity or the SFWDA.

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Solaros SAE

P.O. Box 1185
Roswell, Ga. 30077
United States

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