More than 100 Model Ts and their owners visited Ford Motor Company World Headquarters on Friday as part of the centennial celebration of "the car that put America on wheels."

Parked in neat rows in front of Dearborn, Mich. headquarters during the more than three-hour event were numerous versions of the Tin Lizzie, including touring cars, runabouts, racers, depot hacks, fire engines and more, including a police paddy wagon and a fruit truck.

They weren't all black either, as demonstrated by John Forster's gleaming red-and-brass 1909 touring car and others.

Forster, who restored his car six years ago, said he enjoyed owning the 99-year-old car.

"They're just fun, fun-to-drive. Unlike a lot of other antique cars, they're dependable," said Forster, of Royal Oak, Mich.

Minutes later, Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr., hopped into Forster's car to pose for pictures with him.

Ford said the Friday event, one of the largest Model T centennial celebrations in Michigan, was gratifying.

"This is awesome. This is exactly what Ford Motor Company is all about. Even in difficult times, it's important we celebrate what's special about this company," Ford told the crowd.

"Thank you for believing in Ford and please believe in our future," he said to applause.

Mingling with the Model T owners were hundreds of Ford employees who stopped by the event during their lunch hour.

Many of the Model T owners were also showing their cars at last weekend's Old Car Festival at historic Greenfield Village. That event, which also honors the centennial, was expected to draw nearly 200 Model Ts.

Among those showing a car in front of Ford headquarters on Friday were Susan Wiedmaier and Don Muirhead. Their car was a 1913 touring car that has been in Wiedmaier's family for more than 80 years.

Dressed in period clothing, both said the event and owning a Model T was special.

"It's like being a steward of history. We're taking care of something that's been around since 1913," said Muirhead, of Royal Oak, Mich.

Hugo Vermeulen, of Port Perry, Ontario, agreed. He even knew the date his restored 1909 touring car was built May 25.

"To me, owning a Model T is like a flashback to better times when the pace of life was easier. It's nice to have something slow and old," laughed Vermeulen, who sold a Corvette to buy his "T" in 1998.

Gerhard "Jerk" Ritsema, of Zeeland, Mich., has even been a part of that history.

In 1958, he drove his black 1918 roadster to Dearborn for the 50th anniversary celebration of the Model T. Now he was back with the same car, restored for the second time, for the 100th anniversary.

"It's fun to drive, and it's challenging. Anyone can drive a Model A," said Ritsema, referring to the more modern Ford that replaced the Model T in 1928.

Ritsema found his car behind a Wisconsin bar in 1952 and bought it for $75. Since then, he's logged countless miles on it, driving it all the way around Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

In one memorable trip years ago, he even drove it down to Norfolk, Va.

"Its top speed is only 35-40 mph so I did it in 33 hours straight but I was younger and crazier then," he laughed.