euro cars

I’ve known Leah Hockman since middle school. We met at the rollerskating rink. Yep even back then… we were both obsessed with wheels. You see – Leah and I grew up in a small town where there wasn’t much to get into on the weekends. You know… one stoplight towns. But while there wasn’t much around us, there WAS our beloved skating rink – Hugos! Fun fact: In its heyday, Hugos was the largest indoor skating rink on the East Coast. So needless to say, it was the place to be on a Friday/Saturday night. And while I could sit here and ramble-on about how many awesome memories we all made there as kids… you’re probably here to read more about Leah’s rig, dubbed the “Moon Buggy”.

she crawls

Following our skating rink days…

Leah and I went on to attend different high schools, and eventually (unfortunately), we lost touch altogether. But fast-forward to few years ago, and while doing my usual evening doom-scrolling, I see Leah pop-up as a suggested friend on Facebook. I decide to send her a friend request & see what she’s been up to all these lost years. As I pop over to her page, I immediately see pictures of built rock crawlers on her feed. Umm… ok… rad?! 

39 BFGs

Leah got into rock crawling when she met her husband, Brent Hockman, in 2010…

Brent showed her the ropes, and let her get behind the wheel of his rig: A tube-chassis crawler on 42s with all the fix’ins. From that point on, Leah was hooked! A few years later, they would sell the rig to focus on family. But as with any itch that can’t be scratched, they decided to get back into crawling in 2020… this time using their Jeep JK Rubicon. However, they realized right away that sharing a rig wasn’t the move. Leah wanted her own. So – they purchased a Suzuki/Toyota-based rock crawler and got to wrenchin’.

Yukon gears

The Moon Buggy is a custom tube-chassis rig…

Outfitted with a 16-valve 1.6L Suzuki Sidekick engine, which is paired with a turbo Hydromatic 180 automatic transmission. To get over any obstacle that might come between Leah and the trail in her crosshairs, a Sidekick crawl box mated to a Suzuki Samurai transfer case was installed. It features a 6.5:1 gear ratio, and an overall crawl ratio of 138:1.

Additional running gear includes components from Yukon Gear and Axle: 4.88 gears & zip lockers powered by a Yukon mini-compressor. Along with Toyota driveshafts, and Toyota 8″ 4-cylinder axles with RCV 30-spline chromoly axle shafts. 

Walker Evans beadlocks

Suspension & steering is key…

So a PSC hydraulic steering system was installed. It features front & rear steer, along with a 4-link suspension featuring 16” Fox 2.0 air shocks. This provides plenty of capability over any terrain. 

On the ground, a set of Walker Evans beadlocks, wrapped in 39” BFGoodrich Red Label Krawlers were installed for maximum traction & durability. Safety is also a huge factor with this kind of build, as rollovers are a virtual certainty. Therefore – a pair of PRP seats & 5.3 harnesses were installed to make sure Leah remains safe & secure. Wilwood brakes were also installed for when the ‘oh sh¡t’ pedal needs immediate results.

Yukon locker

It’s both humbling & super-inspiring to see someone so deeply committed to their hobby…

Especially in an automotive subculture/segment I knew very little about… prior to Leah taking me to school. From roller skates to rock crawlers, Leah continues to live passionately about anything with wheels on it. She’s wheeled all up & down the East Coast, competed in various events, and tackled wild sections of Mammoth Trail at AOAA in Coal Township, PA. Leah was also chosen to participate in the invite-only BFGoodrich Flex Rocks and Rollovers 24 Hell and Back Challenge, which recently aired as a multi-episode show on YouTube. Last but definitely not least, Leah runs an off-road clothing line called She Crawls, aimed at inspiring women to get off the sidelines and into the driver’s seat. So yeah – stop reading this & go do something awesome behind the wheel of something!

Action Shots by the BFGoodrich / Flex, Rocks & Rollovers event media team

suzuki sidekick rig

‘Moon Buggy’ Mod List

Custom DOM tube chassis 

Suzuki Sidekick 16V 1.6L engine

Turbo hydromatic 180 auto transmission

Sidekick crawl box mated to a Samurai transfer case with 6.5:1 gear ratio and an overall crawl ratio of 138:1

Toyota driveshafts & 8” 4-cylinder axles

RCV 30-spline chromoly axle shafts

Yukon 4.88 gears, and Yukon zip lockers powered by a Yukon mini compressor

PSC hydraulic steering with front & rear steer

107” wheelbase

4-link front and rear

16” Fox 2.0 air shocks

39” BFGoodrich Red Label Krawlers

Walker Evans beadlocks

5-gallon custom fuel cell

Wilwood brakes

PRP seats and 5.3 harnesses

offroad axles

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