Italian police foil plot to steal Ferrari founder's body

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Police in Italy have foiled an attempt to steal the remains of the motor racing pioneer, Enzo Ferrari.

Ferrari, who established the eponymous car manufacturer in 1939, died aged 90 in 1988, and was buried in the family tomb in Modena, central Italy, not far from Ferrari's Maranello base.

A gang of thieves allegedly planned to steal the remains, then demand a ransom from the Ferrari family.

According to Sky News, the group of would-be criminals had already scouted out the tomb, arranged for someone to contact the family and found a place to store the body.

The scheme was discovered during a police investigation into the trafficking of weapons and drugs, which involved 34 arrest warrants and a number of raids. Police revealed the find during a press conference on the island of Sardinia, where the gang is said to have been based.

Enzo Ferrari is seen by many fans as one of the key figures in automotive history, having set up Ferrari first as a racing team, then a road car manufacturer.

He started out as a driver, racing Alfa Romeos. His late friend, the fighter pilot Francesco Baracca, had given him a prancing horse necklace before he died, and Ferrari used the emblem as a lucky charm ever since.

He masterminded iconic road cars such as the 365 GTB/4 Daytona and 250 GTO, although he is widely quoted as describing the Jaguar E-Type as the most beautiful car in the world. A film about his life is slated for release in 2018, with Hugh Jackman set to play the lead role.