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On the issue of T-top center pillar: It's not the backbone of the car. The backbone of the car is actually the transmission and driveshaft tunnel. That is really where the strength of the car lies. It acts like a high strength steel tube which is fully 12 inches in diameter at it's narrowest point.
In 1996, when I was still working as an instrumentation engineer that served the Milford Proving Grounds, I did a project for some chassis engineers who were in the fourth-gen F-body development group. They told me a story about a hard-top third-gen test mule which they were using for development of the fourth-gen. They claimed that they had put strain gages all over the body, especially around the sail panel area, and made stress measurements while putting the car through a series of extreme maneuvers. After the testing was done, they took a sawzall to the car just for entertainment, and cut off part of the roof to approximate T-tops. They then put the car through the same test, and surprisingly noticed no measureable difference in terms of stress or deflection on the body at the measurement area. The conclusion that they came up with is that hard top versus T-top, there was negligble difference in body rigidity. They didn't do a targatop sawzall conversion, which is too bad: It would have made a good conclusion to the study.
Yet, I think the idea of a Targa top isn't much diferent than what is done when making a convertible. In both cases, the top of the car is removed from the structure. The only difference is in the under-body bracing, which is absent in the sawzall targa top car. If I were in the business of customizing a car, I'd look at how a unibody convertible is built, then approximate the underbody bracing to regain any rigidity that was lost by removing the roof. I *think* that a ragtop car gets some extra bracing in the floor, but not much. If that's the case, then it's an indication that GM thinks the construction of the rockers, floorpan, and structural steel transmission tunnel are sufficient to provide an appropriate level of rigidity.