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Thieves targeted legendary carmaker Enzo Ferrari's body in bizarre ransom plot

Why it matters to you

Normally when you hear the words "Ferrari" and "theft" together, the subject is a car -- not Enzo Ferrari himself.

Italian police stopped a theft scheme involving Ferrari, but the target wasn’t one of the automaker’s coveted supercars. Rather, it was the body of founder Enzo Ferrari himself.

Police in Nuoro on the island of Sardinia said in a news conference late on Tuesday that they suspected a gang had planned to steal Ferrari’s body, and demand ransom from either the Ferrari family or the company. They did not offer further details, but said the plot was uncovered during an investigation into arms and drug trafficking that led to multiple arrests, according to Reuters.

Enzo Ferrari died in 1988 at the age of 90. He is buried in an above-ground family tomb in the San Cataldo cemetery in Modena, not far from Ferrari’s headquarters and factory in Maranello, in central Italy. Ferrari test drove his first car, the 125 S, on the streets of Maranello for the first time on March 12, 1947, and so Ferrari the company considers 2017 to be its 70th anniversary. Good thing Enzo Ferrari’s remains are secure, then.

It is, to say the least, unusual for a car-company personality to become the target of grave robbers, but Enzo Ferrari was not an ordinary businessman. He started out in racing, primarily running cars for Alfa Romeo. His first road cars were famously conceived only as a way to fund continuing racing efforts. Known for his irascible personality, Ferrari was obsessed with winning on the track, but also managed to turn his name into what is arguably the world’s most famous automotive brand.

News of the corpse-stealing caper comes shortly after a report that Hollywood is once again trying to make an Enzo biopic. Earlier this month, Deadline.com reported that Hugh Jackman was slated to play Ferrari in a move set to begin production next year. Both Robert DeNiro and Christian Bale were tipped to play Ferrari in earlier incarnations of the on-again, off-again project.