If you were even the least bit interested in cars, and you watch YouTube, you’ve no doubt heard of that guy named James (who goes by the name of “thestradman”). He’s the hyperactive and incredibly enthusiastic Lamborghini enthusiast from Utah, and he got arguably one of the largest audiences on all of YouTube (2.4 million subscribers at the time of this writing). However, there’s a lot more to it than that. Who is thestradman?
- He lives in Salt Lake City Utah
- He was born in 1990
- He has a degree in accounting
- His first attempt at doing YouTube full time was a failure
- His net worth is approximately $1.8 million
The complete history of thestradman
To fully understand who thestradman is, you need to go back. Way back. No – not as far as his childhood, but at least to the point where he was in school getting a degree in accounting.
Yep, that’s right. James (who is known for being incredibly hyperactive with a short attention span), is a numbers guy. He worked full-time for several accounting firms early in his career, and he was very good at what he did.
James has always been a car guy though. More specifically, he has been infatuated with Lamborghinis and Ferraris since the beginning. And as you might be able to tell by his brand name, he used to be more of a Ferrari guy than a Lamborghini guy.
For those that don’t know the “strad” in “stradman” is a reference to the 2004 Ferrari Challenge Stradale – a very rare and sought after variant of the 360 that saw very limited production. Personally, I find it a bit funny now that he’s all about Lamborghini these days and it’s very rare that he ever talks about Ferrari anymore. However, he did just purchase a Ferrari 430 Challenge, so we can’t say that he’s totally turned off on the brand these days…
The beginnings of a YouTube channel
Back when James first graduated college in 2007, he was driving a red Audi TT. Not his ideal car of course, But it was enough to get his YouTube channel started with semi-interesting content. Back in the early days, however, he was just as infatuated with hyper cars as he is today, so much of his content was focused around car spotting.
This ultimately led him to Los Angeles, where he decided that (with just 20,000 subscribers on YouTube), he could make a go of it full-time. He quit his accounting job in Utah and headed west to be a full-time car vlogger.
Long story short, it didn’t go well for him. He was only making several hundred dollars a month at a time from YouTube ad revenue, which obviously wasn’t enough to pay the bills. He was living in the Audi TT, determined to make a go of it. Unfortunately, as anyone who has tried to live in a small car knows, it’s a miserable existence.
He only lasted 3 months doing this, before returning to Utah with his tail between his legs feeling as if he has failed. To make matters worse, he couldn’t find a decently paying job in accounting right away, so he had to take a job as a busboy at a resort in Park City.
Back in Utah, still determined to make it work
With such a massive passion for cars, James never let go of his dream of becoming a full-time automotive YouTuber. He scrimped and saved as much as he could, and eventually found another accounting job which paid much better.
Being young and single, his monthly expenses were very low and he was easily able to use most of his income towards his passion for cars. The car that he replaced his faithful Audi TT with was a 2007 Lotus Elise, which to me, was the official start of thestradman YouTube channel as we know it today.
Heck – if anyone asks me “who is thestradman?”, I’ll tell them that he’s a self-made entrepreneur who started a massively successful YouTube channel with nothing more than a Audi TT and a Lotus Elise.
His extreme passion for cars came through very clearly. He was very good at his full-time accounting job, making decent money, and he eventually did what no sensible accountant would ever do: he bought a neon orange 2006 Lamborghini Gallardo (with a gated six speed manual, of course).
Going full time with his YouTube channel
James and I are basically nothing alike, but we do have one thing in common: we were both “forced” into perusing our passion as a primary means of income after being laid off from a well paying job. I lost my high-paying corporate gig in 2018 and decided to do the full time blogging thing. James lost his high-paying accounting job in 2016 and decided to give the full-time YouTuber thing another shot.
Back then, with only 80,000 subscribers, a lot of people were no doubt asking “who is thestradman?” when they saw his videos pop up in their feed. He was definitely taking a huge risk by forgoing the notion of getting a “real” job to pay the bills, but he was very confident that he could do it.
Again, being young and single with no debt played to his advantage. His monthly expenses were low, and he had all the time in the world to devote to creating content. With his bright orange Lamborghini and an infectious personality, he set off to do what he was the most passionate about: making videos about super cars. Well, James is far more of a hypercar enthusiast than a supercar enthusiast, but – you know what I mean.
The birth of that hyperactive “stradman” personality
As a long time subscriber to his channel, it’s been fun to watch his on-camera personality evolve into the high-energy / hyperactive whirlwind that it is today. Back when I first started watching his videos in 2015, he was a somewhat quiet and reserved guy who seemed awkward talking into a camera.
Here’s an example of what thestradman was like back in 2015 when he still had his Lotus Elise:
But, to really appreciate the transformation he’s made over the years, take a look at one of his latest videos:
It’s like he’s a completely different person! James is easily the most high-energy personality in the automotive YouTube space, which is surprising to me for two reasons:
- He’s 30 years old. Don’t people become more reserved and relaxed as they age?
- He used to be shy and quiet (as witnessed in his earlier videos)
The age thing is what’s most surprising to me. For comparisons sake, TJ Hunt is 6 years younger than him. Adam LZ is at least 5 years younger. Even streetspeed717 is younger than James by two years, yet they all seem much more mature on camera.
So what’s going on here? Is James on drugs or something? Does he have a really bad case of A.D.D. (Attention Deficit Disorder)? I don’t know him personally, but I’ve been watching his content for so long now that I feel confident saying “no” to both accusations.
“thestradman” is simply an on-camera character developed for his audience
Even though I’ve been a long time viewer of his content, I recently found myself clicking on less and less of them over the past year or sp. Whenever one of his videos would show up in my feed, skipping over it or clicking on it depended entirely on my mood.
If it was early in the day and I had lots of energy, watching the latest installment in the day in the life of thestradman was fun. However, if it was right before bedtime and I needed to wind down, there was no way I’d click on it. His adolescent sound effects, camera whips, and over-exaggerated excitement about everything is a lot to handle, and I’m not always in the mood for that sort of thing.
To give you a concrete example of what I’m talking about, I’ve assembled a few videos from both his channel, as well as others. The first video is one of him from 2015, which is just him talking to the camera in front of his car:
Fast forward 5 years, and I present to you the following video – which shows how much his on-screen personality has evolved. Note that there’s nothing about this specific video which makes it more obnoxious (er…”energetic”) than any others. Any stradman video from the past 2.5 years would have worked for this example:
Finally, to prove my point about how fabricated James’ “thestradman” character is, check out this collaboration video he recently did with DragTimes:
Wow! James’ personality is completely different here, very much like he used to be in his earlier videos. He’s calm, seems much more mature, and most importantly: not obnoxious! This is obviously his “true” personality, and if you want my opinion, I much prefer him in a calmer and more relaxed state of mind. He’d probably be my favorite automotive YouTuber if he was like this in his own videos.
Why is James so hyperactive?
As difficult as it is for me to watch thestradman videos sometimes, I can understand why he’s acting the way he is. He’s catering to a younger audience, which arguably makes up the largest group of YouTube consumers.
As annoying as he can be (to me) sometimes, he seems to be seen as a god to the younger demographic. Most are naturally attracted to high energy and hyperactivity, and…well…James delivers copious amounts of both. Basically, all I’m trying to say is that I’m old and very likely outside of his target demographic.
So…who exactly is thestradman?
As you’ve just read, it’s a complicated answer. For me, I see James as an incredibly smart businessman who poured gas onto the fire of a content strategy that was working for him. He knew that he had to deliver high energy and excitement with every video, and that’s exactly what he’s been doing week over week for many years now.
Who is thestradman?
- He’s smart and financially responsible.
- He’s annoying sometimes yet highly entertaining.
- He’s really good on camera and just an overall nice guy. I’m pretty sure that I’d be a bigger fan of his content than I already am if I were 20 years younger.
Despite my inability to digest his adolescent antics sometimes, I still watch most of his videos. As a matter of fact, it’s highly likely that I’ve watched more stradman content than any other since 2015 or so. I may complain a lot, but I do enjoy his work.
Finally, if you’re as big of a fan of thestradman as I am, don’t forget to support him by purchasing some of his latest merchandise. His merch business isn’t as important to his bottom line as it is for other YouTubers, but every little bit helps.