Ok, I might be able to shed some light on the solid state vibrator question. The autronic eye worked in my 54 from the time I got it in 1989. A number of years later it packed up - it turned out to be the vibrator. I took it to a vintage radio workshop that I attend once a year and a very experienced electronic engineer [who had done his apprenticeship on tube equipment] guided me through the job. He opened up the vibrator and cleaned the points - this worked for a number of years, but has recently failed again. He set the whole operation up on the bench and tested everything [I own the Kent-Moore autronic eye tester]. He explained to me that the eye is not a photo-electric cell, but is what he called a "batch counter" - although he explained the significance of this, it has slipped my mind since, though I do remember him saying that the same part was used for counting stuff that passed on a conveyor belt in a factory. He also said that he had some in his parts boxes at home.
Back to the solid state vibrator - it says in the manual not to use a radio vibrator, but , as the only ones available are the solid state radio vibrators I bought and fitted a six volt , four pin, neg ground one. As stated by someone else it's a six volt system [in 54 anyway] with a step down barretter type tube as the car is 12 volts. Anyway, the upshot is that it doesn't work ! It appears to not produce enough volts, but there is a variable adjuster in the unit for this. However, I will refit the original and start it with a flick of a screw driver just to check that the rest of the unit is working. If it is I will refit the new one and adjust the volts upwards. Maybe the standard radio vibrator doesn't kick out enough volts and that is why the manual says not to use a radio vibrator, or maybe they meant not to use a 12 volt radio vibrator - does anyone know?