Michael Zarnock (born April 21, 1958 in Utica, New York) is an American author and columnist, who writes collector guides and articles about Hot Wheels toy cars and accessories. Michael's knowledge and his massive Hot Wheels collection has earned him notoriety around the world. Whether it be because of the 11 books and countless articles that he has written about Hot Wheels toys or the sheer size and diversity of his collection, this extensive knowledge has earned him the label, "One of the worlds leading Hot Wheels authorities." Michael is also a two-time Guinness World Record holder, in 2003 and 2007. He is in the record books for owning the "Largest collection of different model cars". He is featured in the 2008 "Ripley's Believe It Or Not!" book #5 “Prepare To Be Shocked!” and the 2011 "Ripley's Believe It Or Not!" book "Utterly Crazy!" February 2009 Michael was inducted into the "Diecast Hall Of Fame" and later that year Mattel Hot Wheels ® honored Michael by reproducing his old Altered Roadster Race Car as part of their Nostalgic "Drag Strip Demons ®" Series!
Life and work
Michael was born April 21, 1958 in Utica, New York into a working class family. As with most young men of that era, he grew up with aspirations of getting married and working with his dad in their family body shop repairing cars. His parents divorced in 1974 and his dad moved to Florida. Michael stayed in Utica with his mom and attended local schools while working as an auto mechanic at Nichols Department Store. He has worked full time since the 11th grade. "Everybody thought it was pretty weird that I came to school with my blue work shirt that had "Mike" on it everyday. They couldn't understand that I worked 45 hours a week while I was still in high school. They were all playing sports and hanging out while I was turning wrenches and fixing their parent's cars." He graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in 1976.
Some of Michael's accomplishments over the years include racing Moto Cross as a teenager to building and driving many show and drag cars as an adult. Some of those drag cars ended up being street racers for other people. Michael has many stories about those street racing days including the time that he got kidnapped at a street race. This story has made it all the way across the country to Hollywood where he was asked to write a screenplay about it for Actor/Producer Christopher Titus. He has also rewritten that script to be published as a novel.
Michael has had a passion for Hot Wheels toy cars and their accessories since their release in 1968 and has collected them whenever he could find them. It's come to be, that Michael has spent so much time and effort on his collection that he has become one of the world's most respected authorities on Hot Wheels ® and their variations. So much so, that it prompted him to write a best selling Variation Guide called "The Ultimate Guide to Hot Wheels ® Variations", that was published by Krause in 2002 and went into it's second printing just a year after it’s released. That book is now out of print and sold out. Since then he has written 10 more books, was under contract with Toy Cars & Models Magazine for 6 years where he wrote a monthly Hot Wheels column and price guide, written numerous chapters in many other die cast books and countless articles for magazines such as "Die Cast X" and "The Car Room Magazine".
Michael now lives with his wife Tina and son Cody in a small town outside of Utica called Deerfield. Michael also makes appearances at schools, conventions, toy shows and Hot Wheels club functions across the United States and Canada. He has even made a few appearances on film. He made his screen debut playing Artie, the sleazy comic book publisher in the "Catch Your Breath Productions" film Detour, and returned to take on the role of Freddy Grecko, talk show host extraordinaire in The Death of Daniel Whately. His latest movie quest was playing Chester Greenfield II, the wealthy father of the main character in the film "Anchor Eddy’s."
2011-Present - "Die Cast X Magazine" (Hot Wheels Section)
2009-2010 - "The Car Room Magazine" (Monthly Hot Wheels Column)
2008-2009 - "Die Cast X Magazine" (Monthly Hot Wheels Column)
2002 to 2008 - "Toy Cars & Models Magazine ." (Monthly Column and Hot Wheels Variation Price Guide)
2002 - "The Ultimate Guide to Hot Wheels Variations"
2002 - * "The Standard Catalog of Die-Cast Vehicles II"
2003 - "Warman's Hot Wheels . Field Guide"
2004 - "Hot Wheels Variations, The Ultimate Guide, 2nd Edition"
2004 - * "Toys & Prices - 11th Edition"
2005 - "Hot Wheels Accessories, The Ultimate Guide"
2005 - * "Toys & Prices - 12th Edition"
2005 - * "The Standard Catalog of Die-Cast Vehicles III"
2006 - "Hot Wheels: A Warman's Companion Guide"
2006 - * "Toys & Prices - 13th Edition".
2007 - "Hot Wheels Variations, The Ultimate Guide 3rd Edition"
2007 - * "Toys & Prices - 14th Edition".
2007 - "Warman's Hot Wheels Field Guide 2nd Edition"
2008 - * "Toys & Prices - 15th Edition".
2009 - * "Toys & Prices - 16th Edition".
2009 - "Hot Wheels: A Warman's Companion Guide 2nd Edition"
2009 - "Once Upon A Street Race" (Based on the true story)
2010 - "Hot Wheels Variations, The Ultimate Guide 4th. Edition"
2010 - "Warman's Hot Wheels Field Guide 3rd Edition"
2011 - "Hot Wheels Prototypes" (Bruce Pascal & Michael Zarnock)
- Denotes (Hot Wheels Collector Number chapters only)
- 2004 — Detour (CYB Productions)
- 2005 — The Death of Daniel Whately (CYB Productions)
- 2006 — Anchor Eddy's (CYB Productions)
- 2003 — Guinness World Record (Largest Collection of Different Hot Wheels Cars)
- 2007 — Guinness World Record (Largest Collection of Different Hot Wheels Cars)
- 2008 — Inducted Into The Diecast Hall Of Fame
Guinness Book of World Records 2006 Edition - page 65 ISBN-13: 978-8408061496
- Michael Zarnock's 2007 Guinness World Record at Guinness
- Mike Zarnock in the Internet Movie Database
- Interview with Michael Zarnock in Toy Collector Magazine
- Michael Zarnock at Amazon.com
- Michael Zarnock's official website.
- Mike Zarnock Fan Page on Facebook
- Mike Zarnock's Hot Wheels Dreams (YouTube)
- Mike Zarnock's Hot Wheels Collectors Boards
- Mike Zarnock on MySpace
- Michael Zarnock's World Famous Hot Wheels Collection.
- Podcast Interview with Michael Zarnock
- Ask Michael Hot Wheels related questions at “All Experts.com”
- Clip of Michael Zarnock from the movie "The Death of Daniel Whatley".
- Anchor Eddy's Movie trailer