So, I've been messing around with the Chop Shop over the last few days, and here are the highlights:
The Chop Shop is upgradeable up to level 10. There are 5 items you will need for each upgrade: Shipping Containers, Cement Blocks, Power Tools, Car Lift, and Acetylene Torches. There are several ways to get these upgrade pieces:
- As free gifts. Every Mafia Wars player can send 2 types of these upgrade pieces as free gifts.
- From jobs and fighting. These upgrade pieces are a somewhat rare drop from doing jobs and fighting in any city.
- By asking for help. Every 24 hours, you can post a request for "help" collecting an item. Simply go into the Chop Shop page and click "Upgrade" and you will see an "Ask for Help" button below some of the item types. Pick the one you have the lowest one and offer up a request. Note: This 24 hour timer seems to reset if you upgrade your chop shop, so it is possible to call for help on items back to back.
- By spending godfather points. You can trade 1 godfather point for each item. It would require quite a few Godfather points to fully upgrade your chop shop, as you will a few hundred of these pieces to finish up.
The cost for upgrading = (current level + 4) car parts of each type. For example:
If you are level 5, you will need 9 (5 + 4) of each type of ingredient to upgrade your chop shop to level 6.
By upgrading your Chop Shop, your shop will produce more car parts per hour. You will also gain access to more vehicle types, which are listed in the Chop Shop Cars post.
Your chop shop will produce "Car Parts" on its own every 24 hours. This is a generic item and you will need quite a few of these items to make cars. You can also find these generic car parts as a common drop from fighting and doing jobs in any city. In addition to these items, some cars require other specialty car parts, such as Thai Car Parts, Bulletproof Glass, and Solar Panels.
Solar panels and Bulletproof Glass drop randomly from doing jobs and fighting in what seems like any city (though I found mine in New York). They have a very low drop rate, but if you play a lot, you will find a lot of these.
City Car Parts (Thai Car Parts, Cuban Car Parts, etc) drop from their prospective cities randomly while doing jobs and fighting. For example, you will only find Cuban Car Parts when fighting and doing jobs in Cuba.
Now, the Chop Shop no longer produces 1 vehicle randomly every 24 hours. You have to build vehicles using the car parts listed above. I listed all the vehicles in a previous post linked above that you can choose from. Unlock more vehicles by upgrading your chop shop.
Note that you can only produce 1 vehicle per 24 hours, even if you have the car parts. As a result, you want to pick the best possible cars to build.
Right now, it seems the best two cars are the Rebel 2 and the Solar Flare. The Rebel 2, with 40 attack and 45 defense, has pretty good stats and gives you +5 stamina for purchasing. That would be +5 max stamina - so you could go from 15/15 to 20/20 by purchasing this vehicle.
The Solar Flare stats aren't as high as the Rebel 2 but it gives out +5 energy for purchasing. Once again, that is max energy. Each time you buy another one of these cars you can increase your stats by +5. The only catch is that you can only do it once every 24 hours.
Since you can increase your stats through this function, you can make big improvements in your character as it is like getting an extra level up each day that you build one of these cars. By doing this for a month, you could end up with an extra max 150 stamina or energy points. This will in turn result in more jobs done and more fights participated in, which would precipitate further levels and even more stat points. This is definitely a worthwhile use of your Mafia Wars time, don't ignore it if you want to stay ahead of the curve!
Edit: The Chop Shop is now upgradeable to level 12:
Additionally, there are 2 new high-end cars that come along with levels 11 and 12:
The Mugati Sport (35 attack, 51 defense, and +3 to your total max defense skill) costs 135 car parts and 1 "High Tech Car Part", which is a brand new piece. The Hunter 'Spy' XS (52 attack, 29 defense, and +3 to your total max attack skill) costs 155 car parts and 2 high tech car parts.
It's a bit of a toss-up on which car to pick now! On one hand, the two new cars, at only providing +3 stats (compared to the +5 energy or stamina cars), may seem a bit weaker. However, with 51 defense and 52 attack on each of these cars respectively, these pieces are also very strong. Since robbing small properties weighs heavily on your most powerful items, if you end up robbing a lot, you may want to beef up your stats by picking some of these new cars up.