CT, I know what it is used for.... leveling out gravel driveways, and filling in ruts. I just never saw one on the front of a truck before.
I have hundreds of hours using one, but on the rear of a Ford 2000 tractor with a 3 pt. hitch, and on clay ball fields. Also, with gravel drives being so hard packed, the rake would take a beating using it without a scarifier out front. We always ran ours with the scarifier down on the first pass to loosen everything, then the rake to smooth it out, then the roller to compact the clay.
Sometimes we'd drop the grading bar on the rake too, if we needed to level out the fields before rolling.
This unit is actually a product called the Front Runner. They were out of North Conway, New Hampshire, and were a competitor of the York Rake. I don't think they're in business any longer. They are quite prevalent in northern New England particularly with owners of Camp Grounds and RV parks, where they are used in place of the snowplow to grade the dirt/gravel driveways.
I assummed that you would know the traditional use for a york rake. What I saw I actually have a similiar picture of though not on a computer. The guy here uses it to clean up the parking and picnic areas at the marina. It works very well to grab leaves, sticks and garbage from the lot. Depending on how he sets the wheels it will even clean the paved lot. He does do a little grading with it but only after he has used a skidsteer to loosen material or had fresh material delivered.
They are still in business, and marketing their product to DPWs, and doing quite well i believe. They had a demo of it at an APWA conference this spring. I guess for gravel roads, if you use that rake like once every 4 weeks, you can cut the number of times a year a big grader would be required. Some towns have cut from 2 gradings a year to done with this product. That and you can quickly regrade with that in about 1/10 of the time it takes to totally regrade the road with a big grader.
Without the scarifier down, on dry hard packed clay ball fields all we did was make dust. This is why I questioned how well they would work on roads. Grooming the cinder running track surface prior to running a small (1 ton) roller on it, the rake works fine, but again, that is cinders. The second question that comes to mind is after raking roads, are they rolled?
I have no first had experience with the product myself. However I have heard that they work well, when bringing the road back to the center. On some of the smaller less traveled dirt roads, the gravel either doesn't compact well or washes to the edge. After a larger rain storm or even after a few weeks this unit is great to bring the roads back together some what.
Does it work as well as a regular grader? Heck no, a decent 6 wheel driver grader is 250K. Graders require an experienced operator to get the road right. The battel that many towns are fighting is do they need a grader anyways. In most towns the number of dirt roads are decreasing. So many towns are looking into other alternatives to buying a new grader as there other one begans to wear out. If the town only has 2 or 3 miles of dirt roads i think this unit may be an excellent way to keep them maintained.