So we knew. Deep down we knew.
The trunk was unlocked and we could open/close/latch it but we didn't have the key to lock it. But this is backwards - right? Of course the entire lock assembly was painted.
Now what follows is a series of errors that with time and money did resolve itself. First, and without reading anything (like instructions), we bought a new lock cylinder. When the new Hurd cylinder (the preferred 50' Commander version) arrived we ran to the garage an thought "oh %^&*" now what. Opening the Shop Manual it was easy to remove the original lock cylinder. You just insert the key, rotate and wait wait what? What key? Again, "oh %^&*"...
Going into the Body Parts catalog we purchased a new handle. Fast forward - the handle arrived and we once again ran to the garage and put the new cylinder into the new handle.
Then we realized that we must be missing something because while you can turn the key there was really no way to lock it. Returning to the catalog we finally studied the whole thing only to realize we were missing 2 parts. The "adapter, handle lock" and the "pawl". The adapter connects the back of the lock cylinder, a sort of extension. to the pawl. When you turn the key it turns the adapter and the pawl moves left or right. Both were available from our preferred vendor and we waited.
While we waited we did some cleanup of the lock assembly only to discover the reason The Previous Owner (TPO - ha, got him into the story after all) painted the whole thing because the chrome is just horrible.
While we have a plan to correct this permanently the business we want to use is busy so we busted out the flat black rattle can and added a bit of white to the lettering.
Once the 2 parts arrived we assembled the whole thing on the car and again failed. TPO made his own "pawl stop" which we hoped would work.
This was bolted onto the inside of the trunk lid and did "seem" to work. Because it was only mounted on one bolt you could over torque the handle and rotate the pawl out of the stop. With just a bit of engineering we could make a new pawl stop that used two bolts and this would work. BUT - returning to the books we saw that the required pawl is used on more than just the 50' Commander. Entering "Studebaker 292077" into Google returned the first hit from Ebay. Well %^&(. This is most likely just the link to having Ebay search for the phrase - which usually returns nothing. USUALLY... We clicked the link and there it was - a unicorn in the wild. We quickly purchased the "pawl stop" and once again waited.
So to recap: We only needed to purchase the handle and EVERYTHING related to actually locking it. That and read the instructions FIRST!