1 9 6 1 – 1 9 6 2 (USA)
26 x 30 minute episodes
This American adventure series featured 30-year-old racing car designer Scott Ross (Brian Kelly, the son of Harry Kelly who was the governor of Michigan from 1942 to 1947) and 19-year-old mechanic Clipper Hamilton (John Ashley). The two automotive specialists were proprietors of a speciality garage in Westwood, California, and were working to perfect a new kind of high-performance engine.
Both were ex-Marines whose interest in cars led them to open their custom car garage after their discharge.
The show was initially to be titled The Racers – which pleased Autolite, the race-loving spark plug company who were originally going to sponsor the show.
But between committing to the series and the debut on network TV, Autolite was bought out by the Ford Motor Company, who believed safety was the first priority and demanded a change of title – ‘Straightaway’ was the name of Scott and Clipper’s garage – and the removal of racing scenes in the ten completed episodes prior to transmission.
Ford didn’t like the idea of sponsoring a show in which racing drivers were careening around tracks like madmen.
Location shooting took place at Sebring, Daytona, Pebble Beach and Bonneville.
John Ashley was a rockabilly performer in real life and his character Clipper Hamilton occasionally sang during episodes of Straightaway.
Guest stars throughout the 26 episodes included Gloria Swanson, Barbara Bain, Mary Tyler Moore, Diana Dors, Gavin MacLeod and Bill Bixby.