Don Palmiter

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Keepsake Artist Don Palmiter

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Don Palmiter

Title: Hallmark Senior Artist
Date started at Hallmark: 1967
Date started at Keepsakes: 1987
Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri

Don Palmiter first got behind the wheel of his brother’s pedal car at age 2. From that moment on, he was a car guy. Today that car guy goes to conventions and auctions. He even has his share of impulse purchases. But Don has never actually restored a car. Instead, he sculpts Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments. He says it’s a better investment.

The beloved Hallmark Kiddie Car Classics collection was originally introduced in 1992 and consisted of miniature, die-cast metal replicas of full-sized pedal cars that were produced from the 1920s through the 1960s. The popular line quickly expanded to include Don’s Customs, Sidewalk Cruisers, accessories, ornaments and more.

But in 2001, the Kiddie Car Classics program was retired, and it’s been greatly missed ever since. So after 15 years, the line will relaunch for Father’s Day with four new versions of popular Kiddie Car Classics designs, as well as a coordinating Keepsake Ornament for each.

2015 Keepsake Ornaments

Don's Street Rod

Kiddie Car Classics

This ornament is a repaint of an original Kiddie Car Classics design that was part of the line called Don’s Customs.

“In ‘95 we actually built a full-size pedal car that looked exactly like it. I could even sit in it, pedal and drive. It’s now in a pedal car museum in Elkhart, Indiana,” Don said.

For the relaunch, the Street Rod’s body color was changed to a more modern satin black and the flames were updated to match.


1965 Ford Mustang

Kiddie Car Classics

Although Don enjoys designing his own custom pedal cars, he takes a lot of pride in reproducing exact duplicates of historic pedal cars like this one.

“I would go to great lengths to make sure everything was exact. I would travel all over the country and meet with pedal car collectors and restorers,” Don said.

“I would take at least a hundred photos of each one, and I would go through and measure and document everything. The result was a high quality product that looked just like the real thing.”

When choosing the color for this repaint, Don and the team looked at original Ford Mustang colors to capture the essence of the real cars.

1958 Custom Corvette

Kiddie Car Classics

Although this custom design is based on a real Corvette, it was never an actual pedal car. Don decided to create this pedal car design because the ’58 model is one of his favorites and he hoped other people would love it as much as he did —and they really did!

“After the original came out, Kiddie Car Classic collectors and Corvette enthusiasts were all over it,” Don said. “I was even asked to speak at Corvette club events.”

On the relaunch version, Don chose to reverse the colors from the original. So instead of a red car with a white accent, it’s a white car with red sides and red seats. “It looks really cool,” he said, “and I like it every bit as much as the first one.”

Find Keepsake Ornaments at your local Hallmark Gold Crown store.


Buy Keepsake Ornaments online.

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Ford Motor Company Trademarks and Trade Dress used under license to Hallmark Cards, Inc. and its subsidiaries. General Motors Trademarks used under license to Hallmark Cards, Inc. and its subsidiaries.