I know there are some huge fans of the Mustangs from the 1971 models up until the Fox hit the scene. The Stangs from ’64.5 up until 1970 are almost universally loved no matter what brand you favor. Once 1971 hit and the gas crisis was looming over performance cars the Stang got bigger and by many accounts less desirable. We have seen plenty of ’69 and ’70 Fastbacks that looked good enough to make the Mustang lovers drool and there have been a few that have had modern 32V 5.0 muscle transplanted under their hood.
The gang at Goolsby Customs teamed up with a local customer, William Shores, to design one of the hottest 1971 fastbacks that we have ever seen. If you look at the finished photos of the car and check out the renderings it looks great, but many of the things that were done to the car will slip past most people that are lucky enough to see Project Pegasus in person. We spent a bit of time on the phone recently talking with Josh at Goolsby Customs about some of what went into this project.
This is the second car that Goolsby has built for Shores and the goal here was to make something that was as different from that fantastic looking 1967 Chevelle SS that Goolsby built as possible. The idea was to go clean, modern, and perhaps a bit understated, or at least as understated as a car this hot can be. The first thing many of you will wonder is why a 1971? When I asked Josh that question he told me simply, they wanted to do something different and Mr. Shores and the Goolsby gang though the 1971 Fastback was an overlooked model.
Other than the fantastic paint and bodywork, Project Pegasus also received a new engine and they chose the new 32V 5.0 V8 that was destined to go into the 2011 and 2012 Mustang GT. The interesting part is that this project was going to take so long that Goolsby had the engine MONTHS before the 2011 GT hit the market. Goolsby got the engine from Sean Hyland, the specific mill in Pegasus was used by Hyland to prototype his supercharger for the 5.0 V8. Hyland was convinced to part with the 5.0 and automatic tranny and the project proceeded.
According to Josh, the most difficult part of the entire project was also one that Mr. Shores was not willing to budge on – the transmission. Shores wanted the 5.0 mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The problem with that was that Ford didn’t have an aftermarket control box for the 32V 5.0 that would support an automatic. The controller that was available was only for a manual transmission. The problem with simply using an auto was that the PATS system looked for each of the modules that would be in a factory Mustang.
That means to get the automatic to work in Project Pegasus that the Goolsby team had to figure out how to integrate everything PATS looks for from the key fobs, to the dash gauges, to the antitheft system components. If one of those components were missing, the PATS system put the car into theft mode and shut the world down. Grafting all of these parts into the design was the single biggest challenge, but the Goolsby Customs gang overcame and finally got the entire system to work.
Josh says after the major challenges with the transmission the rest was pretty much a basic build-up and engine swap. Josh was quick to add that “basic” doesn’t mean it was easy. I asked specifically about the 5.0 used in the build and found that the engine is absolutely bone stock with no mods. The car has not been on a dyno at this point because it is busy making the car show rounds. The gang at Goolsby Customs will have the car on a dyno after show season is over though.
I would bet that what most people won’t even realize looking at Project Pegasus from the outside is that the bodywork has been heavily redesigned to match the renderings drawn by Ben Hermance. You need to see Pegasus and a stock ’71 fastback side by side to see the major difference. The front of the hood and bumper area was shortened 6-inches overall. The wheelbase is an inch shorter than a factory Stang, and Roadster Shop made the chassis Pegasus rolls on. The rear of the car is complete redesigned with a sweet pass through spoiler and laid down rear glass. I think you will all agree that what Goolsby Customs created is one of the hottest Mustangs ever. If the ’71 fastback had looked this good to start with it would be one of the most popular models today not one of the most overlooked this side of a Mustang II.