For the classic car enthusiast, auctions are a veritable gold mine of possibility. There are auctions for every type of vehicle from a first generation Mazda MX-5 to a classic Jaguar E-Type. With as many types of buyers as there are out there, there are auctions of every type, from the gigantic Barrett-Jackson and Pebble Beach auctions, to the local auction house, to even online auction sites.

It is that last area where Stratas Auctions comes in. Founder Lance Butler, himself a classic rally car enthusiast that has had experience in both restoring classics and performing collection management, found himself looking around at online auction sites in late 2019, where he would have to enter a variety of search terms and advanced search filters to even get to cars that might be in his areas of interest. This, to him, felt very disconnected, very impersonal, and, in a word, clunky. It was more of the rote “click this, buy that” type of mentality that was focused more around churning out auctions as fast as possible, instead of taking the time to find the right car for the right collector community.

As such, in 2020, Lance drafted up his idea on a single piece of paper. Take the idea of community first, personalizing the buying experience second, and then building an auction site around that. To him, the key factor that was missing was the word-of-mouth excitement that buzzed through dedicated communities that were built up around brands and even specific cars, and making the connection from seller to community as easy as possible. Stratas launched in the first quarter of 2020, and almost immediately had an impact.

Now, in October 2021, Stratas has built from being the idea of one man with a passion for classic rally cars to full blown, dedicated classic and collector auction site with the personal touch. The team has grown exponentially, from Lance himself contacting communities and sellers personally, to a full team of classic car experts with their own specialities combing the globe to get the best cars in front of buyers that have a passion for them.

We here at Sports Car Digest had the privilege of sitting down over the phone with Lance at the start of October to discuss the amazing growth of the site, the few challenges that he and the team have had to solve over the past year and a half, and where things are going from here.

Interview with Lance Butler, Founder of Stratas Auctions

Note: Selected portions of the interview have been selected and edited for clarity and conciseness.

Lance Butler of Stratas Auctions

Lance Butler of Stratas Auctions

Lance Butler, Founder and CEO of Stratas Auctions.

Our interviewer for the day was Simon Bertram, a content writer for Sports Car Digest. Much like Lance, he is very enthusiastic about classic rally cars, and can probably speak for hours on end regarding the Group B and Group N eras of the World Rally Championship. 

Simon Bertram (SB):

To get it out of the way in advance, thank you for taking the time from your schedule to sit down with us for this interview.

Lance Butler (LB):

You’re most welcome, always happy to talk about classic cars!


As with all founders of companies, there is that one key moment, that one driving force that makes them start up their companies. What, for you, was the driving force that made you decide to start up Stratas?


Originally, I started off in the restoration world, and from that moved on to collection management, where I would work for collectors buying cars, restoring cars, racing cars, and the like. For that, I had to really understand the mindset of what collectors like and dislike about the sales world. 

I was managing a collection in Chicago, and ended up moving back to Los Angeles, where I’m from, due to an opportunity to work at one of the in-person auction houses. Having spent time working for who is the end user of these cars, understanding why they collect and what they want out of these cars, the in-person auction experience is significantly different behind the scenes than it appears from the outside. 

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By: Simon Bertram
Title: How Stratas Is Changing the Online Auction Landscape
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Published Date: Tue, 12 Oct 2021 19:58:37 +0000

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