The Pink Panthers – A Unique Piece of British Military History

Pink hardly seems like an appropriate color for combat military vehicles, but there was a time when the British military had a fleet of pink Land Rovers that affectionately became known as the “Pink Panthers”.

Khaki and beige are the two most common colors used on military vehicles, but when it comes to desert camouflage, there was a time when pink was the best choice. ‘Desert pink’ as it was once referred to, was first used in the Africa campaign of World War 2, but British researchers later confirmed that it was the most suitable camouflage color for the desert, so a fleet of pink Series 2A Land Rover jeeps was also part of the British SAS from 1968 until 1984. They were known as the Pink Panthers, or Pinkies.

Photo: PA Blanchard & Co

Legend has it that the idea for the Pink Panther vehicles was inspired by the discovery of a plane wreck in the North African desert, during WW2. The metal had been worn pink after years of exposure to the elements, and SAS troops noticed that the color did a great job of camouflaging the wreck. Unless you were really close to the downed plane the pink made it virtually impossible to notice from a distance.


The Pink Panthers were mainly designed for behind-enemy-lines operations in the deserts of Oman, as they blended into the sandy vistas perfectly. Sadly, of the 72 Series 2A Land Rovers that the SAS purchased in the early 1960s, only 20 are estimated to still be around today.


One rare Pink Panther was put up for sale in 2019 by PA Blanchard & Co, for $85,000. Released from its military duties in 1986, the model comes with a copy parts book and handbook along with a complete equipment schedule. It also features the original color that made it so famous. This was one of the few Pink Panthers being sold on the open market, with the rest being part of museum exhibits and private collections.