Michael’s knowledge along with his massive Hot Wheels collection has earned him notoriety around the world. Whether it be because of the 14 books he has written on the subject, the numerous chapters in other books and countless magazine articles that he has written about Hot Wheels toys or just the sheer size and diversity of his die cast vehicle collection, this extensive knowledge has earned him the label, “One of the worlds leading Hot Wheels Historians.”
Did you know?
- Michael’s collection has also earned him 2 Guinness World Records! First in 2003 and then again in 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. But, as we all know, things change. 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”. Though he was able to graduate high school after the 10th grade, he continued to attend with two classes his 11th year and one in his 12th year allowing him the opportunity to work full time since the 11th grade. “Everybody thought it was pretty weird that I came to school every day in a blue work shirt that had “Mike” on it. They didn’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, Utica, New York in 1976.
Some of Michael’s other accomplishments over the years include racing Moto Cross as a teenager to building and driving many Drag Race and Show 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 he was kidnapped. That story made its 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 ever since their release in 1968 when he was 10 years old 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’s become one of the world’s most respected Historians on Hot Wheels and their variations. So much so, that it prompted him to write a best selling Collector Guide called “The Ultimate Guide to Hot Wheels Variations”, published in 2002 by Krause. That book sold out almost instantly and went into a second printing just a year after its release. Since then Michael has written 13 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 “The Car Room” and “Die Cast X ”. He is currently Senior Contributing Editor at “Die Cast X Magazine” where he has had his Hot Wheels column since 2011.
Michael makes his home in the small upstate New York town of Deerfield with his wife Tina and makes appearances at Schools, Conventions, Toy Shows and Hot Wheels Club functions across the United States and Canada. You never know where you’ll find him. He’s even made a few appearances in the movies playing characters as:
“Artie, the sleazy comic book publisher”, in the “Catch Your Breath Productions” film “Detour”.
He returned to take on the role of “Freddy Grecko, talk show host extraordinaire” in “The Death of Daniel Whately”.
Michael’s latest movie quest was playing “Chester Greenfield II,” the wealthy father of the main character in the movie “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)
2012 – “Warman’s Hot Wheels Field Guide 4th Edition”
2014 – “Hot Wheels Variations 2000-2013 Identification & Price Guide”
2015 – “Picker’s Pocket Guide – Hot Wheels” (Picker’s Pocket Guides Series)
- 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
- Michael Zarnock at Amazon.com