The engineer moved into the toy trade after joining a die-casting company that had moved into toy production. His daughter inspired the creation of the miniature cars in 1948 after her school only allowed her to take in an item that would fit into a matchbox.
The miniature green and red road roller he developed for her to show off to friends became the forerunner of the Matchbox Toy empire.
Matchbox was floated on the Stock Exchange in 1960 and in 1968 Mr Odell and business partner Leslie Smith were awarded MBEs.
Smith died in May 2005, also aged 87.