Carports have only been around for about 100 years. But it is interesting when they were first used and how they got their name. Modern carports are not seen as much on new construction as in the past, but their usefulness is still manifested in the popularity of affordable carport kits.
Today we take for granted that most homes have either a garage or a carport; though the carport can be either attached, unattached, or one erected using carport kits. But the car has only been around for about 125 years, starting when Karl Benz patented his first engine in Germany for his three wheeled Motorwagen. Early cars were originally open to the elements. Later, though enclosed, they were not very tight for water, so some type of covering was needed to store your new, innovative automobile. I imagine that at first people just used their barns. After all, horses were still the primary form of transportation, and I imagine that even after purchasing a car, they still kept many of their horses. After all, what if the automobile was just a passing fad?
I am not sure when they started building houses with a dedicated garage, I would guess in the early 1900's. But the first carports were seen as early as 1909. They were used by Prairie School architect Walter Burle Griffin in Illinois. By 1913 they were used by other Prairie School (architectural style used in the late 19th and early 20th century, especially in the Midwest that used horizontal lines reminiscent of the native prairie landscape) architects as well. These first carports were attached, part of the house, but they were not yet known as carports but as an "Auto Space".
The term "carport" is credited to architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1936 when he used it in a house he built in Wisconsin. By 1939 the term was widely used. Like a home port for a ship, so is the carport for your automobile. That was the imagery invoked by the attached carports on these streamlined, modern homes of the time.
The carport at this time was considered really handy. Cars had come a long way, but they were not always water tight, so a covering of some kind was always greatly appreciated. The carport was affordable and did its job well.
Carports today are often used for similar reasons. Today our cars are usually water tight (I say usually because my teenage daughter would always find a couple of inches of water in her old car after a downpour!). I do not really notice carports on new homes anymore, but for awhile, it was quite common to have a carport attached to the front or side of a garage or even just a carport. As a kid, out house in the 1970's had both a garage and a side carport. It was great to play in on hot days. You could be outside but in a shaded area.
Some carports are not attached to the house, and today these are most often seen in the form of carport kits. Original carports just had a roof, no sides. This kept the car out of the weather, as well as the people while loading and unloading. Many carport kits are the same, though some do have partial sides and others full sides.
Like the original carports, carport kits are very affordable. If your home does not have a garage or only has a single car garage, it is a great option. Carport kits are also easy to assemble. Some have metal roofs, others are soft sided. Besides using them for cars, you can use them to protect other items as well, such as ATV's and boats.
So, if your current home does not have a carport but you could really use one, then one of them many carport kits available may work for you to protect your Motorwagon from the elements.