They were the prized items among the contents of 81 shipping containers that fell off the YM Efficiency, but after almost two years underwater two Chevrolet Silverado utes will barely even see the light of day before being sent to the scrapheap.
The 2018-model utes, which were worth more than $115,000 each before they fell into the sea near Newcastle on June 1, 2018, are now so damaged authorities sorting through the recovered goods won't even bother removing them from the container they are housed in.
The American vehicles, which were being imported on the ill-fated ship which lost a stack of containers off the Hunter coast while on route to Port Botany, were in one of 10 containers pulled from the sea last week.
Project contractor Ardent Oceania, using specialist vessel M/V Pride, has been raising containers from the seafloor 25 kilometres offshore over the past 10 days.
They were loaded onto trucks and transferred to a site in Carrington for sorting.
Workers from AVCON Projects, the company in charge of onshore waste activities, began opening the recovered containers on Monday.
Dressed in personal protective equipment reminiscent of what is being worn in a coronavirus-testing facility, the workers struck open the container the two utes were housed in on Tuesday.
Scott Wilson, project manager for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority - which has funded the $15 million recovery operation - said the utes had been "battered".
"Obviously having a free fall for 120-odd metres in the water and then landing on the bottom hasn't left them in the best shape," he said.
"All the windows were down in them as well, so they were all full of water and are just rotting."
Mr Wilson said the "stench" of recovered goods was the reason why the disposal workers were decked out in such extensive PPE.
"The stench that is coming out of these containers is just horrific," he said.
"[The PPE] is just for the comfort of the bloke who is going in there until it gets aired out a bit."
Mr Wilson said the containers were in "various states of condition" but the products housed inside were quite damaged.
Other items recovered so far include tyres, furniture and cardboard. All material will be sorted for either salvaging, recycling or disposal.
"We have to recycle as much as we can," he said.
"We've got wood in one place, soft plastics, steel, rubber, copper, other metals. It's all segregated on site and put in piles and bins to go to different waste providers."
Only a small amount of dead sealife has been found in the containers, including a large crab and a few small-sized fish and prawns.
The M/V Pride left the port on Sunday evening to continue to the recovery operation this week.
It is working in area about 25 kilometres offshore and raising containers each day from a depth of between 100 and 130 metres.