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Vibes in a nutshell...

The Vibrator cars use a ratcheting design on the rear gear. The vibrator is a col and reed design that gives vertical movement when the coil is energized/de-energized, with the reed attached to the top of the coil. As the vibrator creates a reciprocating vertical motion, the reed has an attached vertical bar that moves up and down to create a "cycle". The bar ratchets the pinion gear downward propelling the car forward, and then returns the top position when the coil is de-energized. (The pinion gear looks more like a drum with saw-like teeth rather than an actual "gear".) The cycle repeats over and over to create movement.

You can't use DC power for vibrators. These cars only operate on AC, or Alternating Current. This is the whole principal behind the vibrator design- it uses the pulsation cycle of Alternating Current (or "hertz") to create movement and motion. Archaic but innovative and THE start of HO slot cars.
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