Pure Stock-Engined Supremacy: George Gomez’ 2003 Acura NSX

Keep it simple is a phrase we all mutter to ourselves when analyzing our newest project car. It seems like such a novel idea: don’t get so far into the build that the vehicle becomes undrivable or is out of commission for years. I emphasize the novel idea concept because in actuality it’s a tough task. I think we as automotive enthusiasts all suffer from the same affliction. We see this blank canvas before our eyes, and immediately summon our visions of grandeur where our brains illustrate the final version of what this car could become. However, at what point do these visions impact our overall enjoyment of the vehicle? As we pick a particular specialty route for our build, whether it’s for shows, racing, or a long-term project, the amount of driving and overall enjoyment decrease if we get too aggressive with the modification plan.

Not for George Gomez and his 2003 Acura NSX, though. He stuck with the strategy, and it has rewarded him in spades. George elected to keep it simple and proceeded to create one of my favorite NSXs to date. You won’t find any crazy motor swap affixed to the rear subframe or outlandish aerodynamic trimmings on the body. This car is pure. It’s as-intended, and it’s magnificent.

The story for this car starts long before George took his official ownership of it. As a youngster, the New Jersey native developed an affinity for the Honda marque from the onset.

“My first car was a 1995 Honda Accord that I ended up swapping an H22 [engine] into and fully building the motor once I blew it up,” says Gomez.

In the time since his first car, he’s owned several different vehicles from other manufacturers but kept finding himself behind the wheel of a Honda. As with any pure Honda and racing enthusiast, he always envisioned owning the pinnacle of the brand—the NSX.

“Seeing old videos of my biggest racing hero, Ayrton Senna, running around in NSXs and, also, helping the development of the car was a major part of my love and appreciation for the NSX,” he says.

For those unfamiliar, Ayrton Senna was a Brazilian-born racing driver, widely considered to be one of the greatest of all time. For a brief five-year period in the late-’80s and early-’90s, Senna raced—well, he dominated—in Formula 1 for the McLaren/Honda team. During his time on the team, he also helped to develop Honda’s flagship sports car. There is a classic video of him attacking the corners of Suzuka’s West Circuit in Japan behind the wheel of an NSX-R wearing casual street clothes and loafers. What a legend.

“My initial vision was always to have a white NSX. It could have been an early-generation NA1 or the later NA2 version. The bottom line was just to be able to buy the most car I can afford,” he says.

In August of 2015, after several months of searching, and numerous failed attempts at securing deals on other cars in the market, George took his shot at the car you see before you—well, the Yellow version.

“This one was on eBay and owned by a small dealer who happened to have several NSXs in their inventory. The seller was very fond of the NSX. After some time negotiating, he surprisingly gave me an incredible deal on my car that made it affordable enough for me to buy,” he says.

With the prices on the NA2-chassis skyrocketing towards the six-figure range shortly after, the timing couldn’t have been more ideal for him. Returning from the Boston area in his shiny, virgin Spa Yellow Pearl 2003 Acura NSX felt like a dream come true. Gomez had pictured the scenario in his head, but couldn’t believe it finally happened.

“My favorite memory is probably the day I bought it and drove it home from Boston with the targa roof off. The weather was perfect and sunny. It was a major bucket list item, and I felt like a kid who got his dream toy,” says Gomez.

As much as owning the NSX was a goal, in true enthusiast fashion, the dream couldn’t end with ownership. In his quest to build his vision of the perfect NSX, George began dissecting different pieces of the car and remastering them with his touch.

For the elegant Championship White coat of paint practically dripping off of almost every inch of the car, including the enchanting Zoom Monaco mirror inside, he enlisted the help of his painter Raul at Litos Customs in Central Islip, NY. Raul also refinished the pillars, roof, and rare Spoon Aero mirrors in Honda Berlina Black paint to match that of the NSX-R in Japan.

“Huge, huge thank you to my painter Raul, who worked countless days and nights to make my vision a reality. He knew exactly what I wanted and did everything in his power to make it come true. The work speaks for itself,” he says.

But it’s each of the subtle bits Gomez tracked down to complete the look of the NSX that makes it truly special. Pieces like a JP Aero front lip, and a Downforce carbon fiber NSX-R rear spoiler. But the addition of the wing in its natural form wasn’t enough. George had a carbon fiber Rocket Bunny gurney flap molded into the Downforce item for extra personalization.

The exterior subtlety takes on a new level with JDM NSX fenders and quarter panels, which are a bolt-on affair with the NSX, thanks to its aluminum construction. Need a new quarter panel? Just bolt it on. The new fenders and quarter panels were crucial for cleaning up the look of the project by eliminating the amber and red side marker lights from the US version. To finish off the outside, Gomez procured genuine Championship White NSX-R headlights, JDM taillights, and OE JDM Honda emblems.

George’s contact points in the car are enhanced by a myriad of goods that occupy the interior. He navigates the road using a second-generation Spoon Sports Monte Carlo steering wheel affixed to an OEM NSX-R hub. His right hand chooses gears with an EVS Tuning titanium shift knob and NSX-R mesh shift boot, while his feet rest on Karo checkered floormats. We’ll let him tell you about the part of the car he enjoys most.

“My favorite mod on the car is the jersey red and suede Recaro Pole Positions [seats] with the custom-made orange seatbelts. This version of the Pole Position is the closest you can get to the original NSX-R kevlar Recaros without having to spend $20,000. They are also not made anymore with the small Recaro logo and now have the common large headrest logo like the rest of their lineup, adding more uniqueness to the OG version of this seat,” he explains.

While some of those items were not the easiest to find, none of them compare to the wheel setup on the car—specifically the rear pair.

“The hardest mod for me was acquiring a rare pair of OG 18×10.5-inch Regamaster EVOs for the rear of the car. I searched for them for a few years and bought them before owning the NSX. I always knew I’d own the car, so it was part of my motivation to actually buy it one day,” he says.

Tucked behind the front wheels is a gorgeous set of Spoon Sports brake calipers with Spoon Sports pads to assist in braking.

When your base canvas is Honda’s supercar, the engine doesn’t need much help. However, because nothing can be left alone in a project car, Gomez sourced an extremely unique ARC Magic titanium exhaust system. Additionally, he installed a JDM NSX-R red intake manifold and spark plug cover, a Spoon Sports air filter and fastened a Spoon Sports torque damper in place using a custom bracket.

Okay, so simple might not be the most suitable word to describe George’s intricately-worked NSX build. However, throughout its build journey, the NSX has never strayed from being completely driveable, as I alluded to in the opening paragraph. The intense areas of modification—like the respray—have taken it off the road for a short period while the work was completed, but otherwise, George has never stopped driving the car. He wins trophies with it at shows, drives it through backroads and densely-populated streets in New York City, and brutalizes it on the racetrack, and it still looks stunning.

While we are not ones to object to a wild engine swap, there’s something sublime about his stock-engined NSX with well-thought-out supremely developed additions throughout the rest of the chassis to push the car into its best execution. This accomplishment is pure stock-engined supremacy in NSX form.[table id=22 /]